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Patrick Poole

Patrick Poole is a national security and terrorism correspondent for PJMedia. Follow me on Twitter.
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Pulitzer Prize Winner Hawks ‘Protocols of the Elders of the Anti-Islam Movement’ in the New Yorker

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A document entered into court evidence by Justice Department prosecutors in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history, and later cited affirmatively by the federal judge in the case and cleared by the federal appeals court, would seem an unlikely target for a former journalist to try to spin a conspiratorial tale around, namely slandering others of hawking a racist/”Islamphobic” “Protocols of the Elders of Islam.”

And yet that is what David K. Shipler, a former New York Times reporter and winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize, is now trying to do.

Clearly upset that so-called “Islamophobes” have been successful using the document – again, discovered by the FBI, submitted into the evidence by federal prosecutors and approved as genuine by the federal court – to expose the Muslim Brotherhood roots of some of America’s largest Islamic organizations, Shipler wields his “Islamophobia” harpoon like Ahab at his “anti-Islam industry” Moby Dick.

He makes his dubious case in a new book out this week, entitled “Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword” (Alfred A. Knopf), which includes an entire chapter on the subject, and summarizes it in an article published on Tuesday in The New Yorker, “Pamela Geller and the Anti-Islam Movement.” The book received a very lukewarm review in the New York Times this past Sunday.

In the New Yorker article, Shipler claims:

Virtually all the alarm over the coming Islamic takeover and the spread of Sharia law can be traced back to an old document of questionable authority and relevance, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” Dated May 22, 1991, it was found in 2004 by the F.B.I., buried in one of a large number of boxes uncovered during a search of a house in northern Virginia. (I reported on the discovery and the use of the document for my book “Freedom of Speech: Mightier than the Sword.”) It is cited on numerous Web sites, and in articles, videos, and training materials, which quote one another in circular arguments. Its illusion of importance was enhanced by federal prosecutors, who included it in a trove of documents introduced into evidence in the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a charitable organization ultimately convicted of sending money to Hamas.

The memo, however, is far from probative. It was never subjected to an adversarial test of its authenticity or significance. Examined closely, it does not stand up as an authoritative prescription for action. Rather, it appears to have been written as a plea to the Muslim Brotherhood leadership for action, by an author we know little about, Mohamed Akram. He is listed elsewhere as a secretary in the Brotherhood, but he writes in the tone of an underling. Islam watchers do not quote his appeal that the recipients “not rush to throw these papers away due to your many occupations and worries. All that I’m asking of you is to read them and to comment on them.” These lines reveal the memo as a mere proposal, now twenty-four years old. No other copies have come to light.

Two features of the memo are highlighted by the Islam watchers: first, its assertion that “the Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within,” and, second, “a list of our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” [emphasis added]

What’s remarkable about Shipler’s treatment of the Explanatory Memorandum in his article and in his book is how much he is willing to quickly dismiss facts that completely undo his case, and how he pays no attention to the glaring contradictions he ends up wrapping himself into trying to debunk the document. At major points he contradicts himself. He breezes over the mountain of evidence that he has to overcome, but that means he can’t plead ignorance of it. One is only left with the conclusion that he’s being intentionally mendacious.

I beg the reader’s indulgence, for I will quote lengthy passages and on occasions paste screenshots from the court documents themselves so you know I’m not engaged in anything dodgy. Tellingly, most of these quotes never appear in Shipler’s book, and if so, only in selectively edited form.

So let’s start with the evidence.

The document he is trying to cast doubts on is known generally as the “Explanatory Memorandum,” but it’s actual title is “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group in North America.” The document is dated May 22, 1991, and was entered into evidence as “Elbarasse Search – 3″ by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial in 2008.

Helpfully, the federal court overseeing the case in an unusual move posted the trial evidence on their own website. The Explanatory Memorandum and the FBI translation of the document can be found here.

At this point, we can turn to what the Justice Department said in federal court about the Explanatory Memorandum. In one court filing, available on the ACLU’s website, federal prosecutors state (p. 12):

The evidence introduced at trial, for example, established that ISNA and NAIT were among those organizations created by the U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood.8 Govt. Exh. 3-64 (seized from the home of HAMAS leader Ismail Elbarasse); Govt. Exh. 3-3 (Muslim Brotherhood document noting that ISNA was founded by the US-Muslim Brotherhood) ; Govt. Exh. 3-85 (1991 memorandum authored by U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member Mohamed Akram Adlouni, recognizing ISNA and NAIT as Muslim Brotherhood organizations.) Government’s Exhibit 3-85, entitled An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group, described the Brotherhood’s strategic goal as a kind of “grand Jihad”:

The Ikhwan must understand that their role in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western Civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious…. [emphasis added]

So the Justice Department states that:

1) Two Islamic organizations – the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) – were created by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (based on other trial evidence as well as the Explanatory Memorandum);

2) The Explanatory Memorandum was authored by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member Mohamed Akram Adlouni;

3) That the memo describes the Brotherhood’s strategic goal as “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying Western Civilization from within.”

Now please note that these claims were not made by “Pamela Geller and the Anti-Islam Movement” but the Justice Department in a federal court filing. He can tilt at all of the “anti-Islam” windmills he wants, but fundamentally he still has to explain away the court evidence.

And as stated earlier, much to the consternation of Shipler, the federal court agreed in a published opinion with the Justice Department’s analysis of the document when Judge Jorge Solis ruled on motions from three separate organizations named as unindicted co-conspirators in the trial — ISNA, NAIT, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — asking to be removed from the Justice Department’s co-conspirator list. The judge’s ruling against removing the groups from the unindicted co-conspirator list was unsealed in 2010.

In that ruling, Judge Solis states (p. 15):

Government Exhibit 3-85 is titled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” authored by Mohamed Akram of the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood and dated May 22, 1991. (Gov’t Ex. 3-85 (Elbarasse 3) at 21.) The “Explanatory Memorandum” includes a section titled “Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America,” which states that the work of the Ikhwan in the United States is “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” (Id.) Also contained in that document is a list of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “organizations and the organizations of our friends,” which includes ISNA, NAIT, the Occupied Land Fund (“OLF”) (HLF’s former name), and the United Association for Studies and Research (“UASR”). (Id. at 32.)

So Judge Solis found that:

1) The Explanatory Memorandum was authored by Mohamed Akram of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council;

2) That the document describes the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western Civilization from within”;

3) That the document lists the Muslim Brotherhood’s “organizations and the organizations of our friends,” including ISNA and NAIT.

At this point Shipler laughably believes he has room to maneuver. In the New Yorker article and in his book, he makes three general claims:

1) That the judge blindly accepted the Justice Department’s argument about the origins and importance of the memo and never allowed adversarial challenges to its provenance;

2) That the Explanatory Memorandum was admitted as hearsay, meaning that the groups named in the memo were never allowed to challenge in court;

3) That the judge failed to distinguish between the memo’s list of “our organizations” and “the organizations of our friends.”

Let’s take these in order.

1) Judge Solis accepted the Justice Department’s description of the Explanatory Memorandum unquestioningly and never allowed adversarial challenges.

In discussing the order by Judge Solis in response to the motions of the three Islamic organizations, Shipler states in his book (p. 190):

CAIR and two other groups moved to have themselves removed from the list of unindicted co-conspirators, but the effort backfired and gave Islam watchers more ammunition. Not only was their motion denied by Judge Jorge Solis, who presided over the retrial, conviction, and sentencing of the five Holy Land Foundation defendants (the first trial had ended in a hung jury). He also accepted the government’s assertions by citing the seized Elbarasse documents, including the Explanatory Memorandum, without testing their accuracy in an adversarial proceeding. He did not distinguish between the memo’s list of “our organizations” and “the organizations of our friends.” He ruled, “The Government had produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA [Islamic Society of North America], and NAIT [North American Islamic Trust] with HLF [Holy Land Foundation], the Islamic Association of Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.” [emphasis added]

Remarkably, Shipler contradicts himself just a few pages later, quoting a defense attorney for the Holy Land Foundation defendants who said that the Elbarasse documents had, in fact, been challenged by the defense team (p. 198):

The defense team lodged vigorous objections to the introduction of this and the other documents from the Elbarasse search, and two attorneys on the defense team, Nancy Hollander and Marlo Cadeddu, scoffed at Guandolo’s statement. “There was no such stipulation by the defense,” said Cadeddu. “Nor would we ever have stipulated to any such thing. Any claims to the contrary are simply untrue.” Indeed, after the five Holy Land officials and fund-raisers were convicted, their lawyers argued specifically, in an unsuccessful appeal to the Fifth Circuit, that the trial judge had erred in admitting the documents, which the attorneys branded hearsay, irrelevant to the charge that the defendants had funneled money to Hamas. [emphasis added]

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Minneapolis Terror ‘Deradicalization’ Program Fails After Just Months, ‘Test Case’ Back in Jail

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A terror deradicalization program — established in the “Ground Zero” of terror recruitment, Minnesota’s Twin Cities — has already failed after just a few months.

The program was established after a federal court released 19-year-old terror suspect Abdullahi Yusuf to a halfway house earlier this year. Federal prosecutors opposed Yusuf’s release, but were overruled by the federal judge in the case, Michael J. Davis, the Chief Judge of the District of Minnesota. Today, Yusuf again sits in jail, having violated the terms of his release.

Remarkably, Judge Davis said today in a separate case of six men charged with trying to join the Islamic State that he would be willing to consider “less restrictive options” than detaining the men – just a day after Yusuf’s re-arrest.

Last May, Yusuf was arrested at the Minneapolis airport while on his way to Syria by way of Turkey to join the Islamic State. One of his accomplices, Abdi Nur, did make it to Syria, and he now serves as an effective recruiter for the terror group.

Just last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on the program with an article titled “A Test Case for ‘Deradicalization’“:

The path of reform for Abdullahi Yusuf, a U.S. teenager who tried to become a radical Islamic soldier, passes through writings of Martin Luther King Jr., readings of the U.S. Constitution and discussions about life and literature with a fellow Somali-American named Ahmed Amin.

Mr. Yusuf’s attempt to travel to the Middle East last year helped lead authorities to six Minnesota men who were charged last month in connection with a plan to join Islamic State abroad. The 19-year-old has become a test case for whether Americans lured by Islamic extremism can be deradicalized.

A Minnesota judge earlier this year sent Mr. Yusuf to a halfway house, where he adheres to a tailor-made curriculum aimed at reintegrating him into American society and his immigrant community here. If the program succeeds, Mr. Yusuf’s sentence could be reduced — and the approach to his deradicalization replicated, experts say.

Counterterrorism experts believe it is the first such effort in the U.S. to try to turn a young person connected to a terror prosecution away from an extremist Islamist ideology since the advent of groups like al-Shabaab and Islamic State, or ISIS.

Apparently, reading Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Wright’s Native Son, and articles about the experience of Native Americans didn’t sway Yusuf to keep compliant with the program. The Star-Tribune reports today:

Abdullahi Yusuf, a Somali-American who pleaded guilty to conspiring to support terrorists in the Middle East, has been taken into custody for allegedly violating conditions while living in a St. Paul halfway house, according to court documents filed Monday.

Yusef, a student at Inver Grove Community College, drew national attention after a federal judge decided to place him in a halfway house and provide counseling for him rather than hold him in custody while awaiting sentencing.

Yusuf’s alleged violations were not detailed in court records.

Despite the violations not being detailed, the video report on Abdullahi’s re-arrest aired on the local CBS affiliate notes Abdullahi’s violations occurred on the same day last month that six other Twin Cities men were arrested for attempting to join the Islamic State.

One additional interesting tidbit is that according to the New York Times, federal prosecutors opposed Yusuf’s release:

Mr. Yusuf, Mr. Nur’s co-defendant, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support for terrorism and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years. But in an experiment being watched nationally, Judge Michael J. Davis of Federal District Court agreed to a presentence plan to divert Mr. Yusuf to a halfway house with the support of Heartland Democracy, an education nonprofit in Minneapolis. He worked at Best Buy and attended community college until late November, when he was jailed for a time in connection with his attempt to travel to Syria. His supporters are now working with the court to get him back in classes and eventually back in a job.

The idea, said Mary McKinley, executive director of Heartland Democracy, is to gradually reintegrate Mr. Yusuf into the community, and possibly give him a role in countering the radicalization of young people.

“Ideally, Abdullahi will be able to tell his story in a way that is useful to young people who are frustrated and disengaged,” Ms. McKinley said. His lawyer, Jean M. Brandl, said her client was not prepared to speak publicly.

Federal prosecutors opposed giving Mr. Yusuf a break, noting that he had lied to F.B.I. agents at the airport. But Judge Davis, who knows the Somali community well enough to ask about clans and sub-clans, went along with the plan, intended to reduce the chasm between Somalis and law enforcement officials. Parents and friends concerned about a young person drawn to the Islamic State are more likely to call the police, advocates say, if they believe there is an alternative to a long prison sentence.

The Associated Press reports today that during a hearing for the other six men arrested in April accused of trying to join the Islamic State Judge Davis said he is willing to consider “less restrictive options” than holding the men until trial:

Five Minnesota men accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group were ordered Tuesday to remain in custody pending trial, but Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said he’s open to exploring less restrictive options.

The five men are all charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; four are charged with attempting to provide such support. Their attorneys had appealed orders that the men be held while their cases proceed, arguing their clients weren’t dangerous or a flight risk.

In separate hearings for each man Tuesday, Davis said no set of conditions could reasonably ensure the community’s safety or guarantee that each man would not flee. But he told attorneys to come up with plans that could support their release.

“I’m not rushing into this,” Davis said. “It’s a slow process. But I’m taking a look at each of these defendants individually.”

As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

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ISIS Twitter Users Threaten Impending Terror Attack on London Using #LondonAttack

Monday, May 11th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Within the past hour, several tweets featuring the #LondonAttack hashtag have shown up on Twitter, including one warning Muslims to leave the area of Covent Gardens:

After that account was suspended, the user apparently began tweeting under a new account:

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Others seem to show an explosive device and weapons:

twitter.com_2015-05-11_09-23-51b

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Among others:

twitter.com_2015-05-11_09-24-00b

Over the weekend, there were fake Twitter threats from Islamic State supporters targeting two international flights that were subsequently diverted.

But, as was widely reported, one of the would-be jihadists targeting the Texas “Draw Muhammad” event posted a tweet on his account featuring the #texasattack hashtag just minutes before the two terrorists were killed in a gunfight outside the event. These users are clearly trying to mimic that.

Just to qualify, we cannot vouch for the veracity of these tweets or their threats.

UPDATE: The user who apparently made the initial threat posted a screenshot of this article:

twitter.com_2015-05-11_14-27-00b

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Phoenix Mosque Attended by Garland Jihadists Previously Spawned Two Other Terrorists

Friday, May 8th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Yesterday at PJ Media, I reported on conflicting stories offered by the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCP) regarding former mosque attendees Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, who were killed this past Sunday in a gunfight outside a Dallas-area center where a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest was being held.

I noted the attempts by the mosque president, Usama Shami, to downplay the ties of the two would-be terrorists. This included Shami’s claim to the press that neither was a regular member. In fact, Elton “Ibrahim” Simpson had been featured in a mosque fundraising video posted on ICCP’s YouTube channel in 2012 identifying him as a member:

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In fact, Simpson and Soofi were not the only two terrorists spawned from ICCP. Two other previous ICCP mosque attendees — Hassan Abu-Jihaad and Derrick Shareef — are currently in federal prison on terrorism-related charges.

There are remarkable parallels with Simpson and Soofi, including that Abu-Jihaad and Shareef were also roommates.

Further, Usama Shami attempted to downplay their association with ICCP as well. He told the Arizona Republic he never saw the pair – despite court records in both their cases stating they had attended the mosque.

Abu-Jihaad is currently serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for passing classified information to a UK-based al-Qaeda webmaster. According to the Justice Department:

In 2001, Abu-Jihaad was serving as a U.S. Navy signalman aboard the U.S.S. Benfold and had access to the future movements of his group of ships, led by the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Constellation. Six months after the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and before leaving home port in San Diego for a deployment in the Persian Gulf, Abu-Jihaad transmitted then-classified information about his battle group’s itinerary, listing dates for anticipated port calls in Hawaii and Australia, and for the battle group’s transit through the Strait of Hormuz. Abu-Jihaad’s disclosure discussed the battle group’s perceived vulnerability to terrorist attack.

The leak did not come to light until well after Abu-Jihaad left the Navy, when an investigation into Azzam Publications led to the search of a London apartment associated with one of the website’s organizers, and authorities found a floppy disk containing the U.S. Navy information. Subsequent investigation uncovered several email exchanges from late 2000 to late 2001 between members of Azzam Publications and Abu-Jihaad, including discussions regarding videos Abu-Jihaad ordered from Azzam Publications that promoted violent jihad and extolled the virtues of martyrdom; a donation of money Abu-Jihaad made to Azzam Publications; and whether it was “safe” to send materials to Abu-Jihaad at his military address onboard the U.S.S. Benfold.

The FBI established a direct tie between Abu-Jihaad and Simpson according to court documents in the latter’s 2010 trial, as Simpson was first questioned by the FBI in 2006 when authorities believed he might be part of a terror cell:

In 2006, agents opened a criminal investigation of him based on his ties with an individual “whom the FBI believed was attempting to set up a terrorist cell in Arizona,” according to court documents.

Agents say Simpson knew Hassan Abu-Jihaad, an enlistee in the U.S. Navy later convicted of leaking classified information about upcoming movements of his battle group to an alleged terror cell in London. Simpson told agents he knew Abu-Jihaad, who was arrested in Phoenix in 2007, but did not tell them anything else about him.

Undoubtedly, what launched that 2006 investigation was the activity of Abu-Jihaad’s former roommate, Derrick Shareef.

Shareef was arrested in 2006 for his role in a plot to set off hand grenades at a Rockford, Illinois shopping mall during the holiday season. He later pled guilty on a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

During his trial, the FBI provided video tapes of Shareef threatening Americans:

“You are the enemies of Islam, for the sake of Allah we are coming for you,” Shareef says in a tape that looks like it could have been shot somewhere in the Middle East. In fact, the camera was 90 miles from Chicago in a Rockford home where the 22-year-old and a friend each made several videos declaring their desire for destruction.

“We will target you in your homes. We will target you in your businesses. We will target you in your synagogues and your churches. We do not fear you Kafirs. I swear by Allah I am ready to give my life right now for the cause,” the tape says.

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CIA-Backed, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrians … Now Openly Working with Al-Qaeda

Friday, May 8th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

As I have reported extensively here at PJ Media over the past year, a growing mountain of evidence confirms that the “vetted moderate” Sunni groups that the U.S. has backed in Syria — backing which includes CIA-provided heavy weaponry – have always been working with the very same jihadist groups that the Obama administration and the Washington, D.C. foreign policy “smart set” have consistently claimed they would counter.

Now, a new report establishes that even more CIA-backed “vetted moderate” groups are collaborating with groups designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations. Specifically, they are collaborating with al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, though at times they have also operated jointly with the Islamic State.

Reuters reported last Thursday that two Free Syrian Army (FSA) units — Division 13 and Fursan al-Haq — are fighting side-by-side with the Nusra Front in northern Syria:

Hardline Islamists fighting side-by-side with groups backed by the United States have made gains in northern Syria in recent weeks while showing rare unity, which some fear may be short-lived.

An Islamist alliance calling itself Army of Fatah, a reference to the conquests that spread Islam across the Middle East from the seventh century, has seized northwestern towns including the provincial capital Idlib from government forces.

The alliance, which includes al-Qaeda’s wing in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, and another hardline militant group, the Ahrar al-Sham movement, is edging closer to the coastal province of Latakia, President Bashar al-Assad’s stronghold.

Fighting alongside them, although excluded from a joint command center, are groups which reject the jihadists’ anti-Western aims and say they receive covert support from the CIA. Two of these are called Division 13 and Fursan al-Haq.

While the Islamist groups appear to be stronger than their Western-backed allies, it is a rare example of cooperation, just weeks after Nusra Front fighters crushed a previous U.S. backed rebel force in a blow to Washington’s Syria strategy.

Remarkably, Reuters (as well as many other establishment media outlets) continues to present this level of cooperation between U.S.-backed groups in Syria and terrorist organizations as “rare.”

This is categorically false.

In an effort to preserve that narrative, Reuters added this howler:

Abu Hamoud, a commander from Division 13, said his group coordinated with Nusra Front, which the United States considers a terrorist organization, but this does not mean it is aligned to it.

As if “coordinating” with al-Qaeda is functionally different from “aligning” with al-Qaeda.

In service of this narrative, establishment media have attempted to create distinctions between Nusra and other U.S.-backed groups. Reports have noted that the Nusra Front had recently taken out two of the major Syrian rebel groups, Harakat al-Hazm (in March) and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (in November), and that both had been trained and received heavy weapons from the United States. However, both groups had been openly cooperating with Nusra before their demise.

Both Hazm and SRF had their “vetted moderate” credentials provided by the D.C. foreign policy establishment, which deemed Hazm as “rebels worth supporting” and SRF as “the West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies.”

Last year, just as SRF was in line to receive CIA-provided anti-tank missiles, SRF commander Jamal Maroof told Western media that he had no intention of fighting al-Qaeda.

A few weeks later, the Wall Street Journal reported that SRF had been fighting alongside the Nusra Front in the Golan Heights of southern Syria. In September, Agence France Presse reported that SRF had struck a truce with the Islamic State, thus ending any notion that they ever had a chance “against Syria’s Islamist armies.”

When Liz Sly of the Washington Post interviewed the commander of Hazm in April 2014 just as they were beginning to receive heavy weapons shipments from the U.S., the commander gave a double-sided response about Nusra:

LS: You have already participated in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. What are your relations with Jabhat al-Nusra?

AA: Jabhat al-Nusra is a military formation, a fighting battalion that exists on the ground like any other. We have no strong or meaningful relationship with them. They fight on their fronts, and we fight on ours.

LS: What do you think of them?

AA: They hold responsibility for bringing ISIS fighters to Syria from across the world. This was a mistake committed against the Syrian people. I think of them as a group of people fighting to topple the regime, but if they change their ideology to resemble that of ISIS or bring death and destruction upon the Syrian people, then we won’t allow it.

In September, an article in the L.A. Times reporting from the frontlines in Syria recorded an exchange with two Hazm fighters armed and trained by the U.S. The fighters admitted that they liked Nusra and fought in coordination with them.

Just a few weeks later, as U.S. warplanes began to target the Islamic State in northern SyriaHazm issued an official statement condemning the strikes as “an attack on the revolution” Of the U.S., they demanded “unconditional arming” of the Syrian rebels.

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Phoenix Mosque Caught Lying About Ties to Texas Would-Be Jihadist Killer

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

After two attendees of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix (ICCPA) were killed in a gunfight Sunday night in Garland, Texas, outside a facility where a “Draw Muhammad” contest was being held, the leaders of the mosque have given conflicting stories about the relationship the two had with the place of worship.

Most of the conflicting accounts have come from mosque president Usama Shami, who has been regularly featured in multiple press reports following the events Sunday evening. Most of his statements have been attempts to distance the mosque from the two would-be terrorists.

For example, a Dallas Morning News article quotes him as saying the pair were not regular members:

Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, said Simpson and Soofi attended prayers at the mosque but were not regular members. Simpson started attending Friday prayers at the mosque about 10 years ago, he said, but visited the mosque less frequently after he was arrested.

But in fact, a video posted on the ICCPA YouTube channel in 2012 features Elton (“Ibrahim”) Simpson and identifies him as a member:

vlcsnap-2015-05-07-15h59m57s170This screencap is taken from the video below, with Simpson appearing ~4:16:

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The above quote by Shami asserts that Simpson stopped frequenting the mosque after his 2010 arrest. Another account by a local spokeswoman published in the Arizona Republic claimed that the mosque had shunned Simpson:

Deedra Abboud, a converted Muslim and a former community activist-turned-lawyer said Wednesday that members of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix were scared and that “everybody’s being pressured by the FBI.”

Abboud also said that while the FBI’s case bothered Simpson, so did a sense that the mosque turned its back on him.

“It was a combination of the two things: harassment by the FBI and the Muslim community avoiding him like the plague,” said Abboud, who helped raise money for Simpson’s bail and knows many of his closest acquaintances.

“It was the isolation,” she said. “My theory is that he was upset with the Muslim community and he became more susceptible to radical ideas.”

However, mosque president Shami stated several times that it was only within the past few months that the pair stopped attending:

Simpson had worshipped at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix for about a decade, but he quit showing up over the past two or three months, the president of the mosque told The Associated Press.

The center’s president, Usama Shami, said Simpson would play basketball with mosque members and was involved with the community. Soofi owned a nearby pizza business and would stop in to pray occasionally, he said.

That account was repeated by the L.A. Times:

Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, remembers Simpson as “a pleasant kid” who taught his jump shot to younger children at basketball courts near the mosque. Simpson attended the mosque beginning in his high school years, Shami said, and was active until just months ago.

“We didn’t see him too much lately,” said Shami, whose mosque is about two miles from the apartment shared by Simpson and Soofi.

So we see Shami giving two very different versions of Simpson’s attendance at the mosque.

Shami also tried to distance the mosque from Simpson’s 2010 arrest:

Shami disagreed that the mosque shunned Simpson. The mosque did decline to raise money for his legal defense, he said, concerned with not knowing where the FBI case would lead.

“Our first priority is to protect the mosque. It cannot be part of any federal case,” he explained, adding that Simpson was always welcome to attend even after his conviction.

And yet, multiple media reports quote Simpson’s attorney, Kristina Sitton, saying the mosque posted a $100,000 cash bond after his arrest:

The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix posted $100,000 cash bond to release him from custody, Sitton said.

Again, from the L.A. Times:

Simpson was placed on three years’ probation and fined $600. His mosque in Phoenix had posted his $100,000 bail.

That hardly seems to be a way to keep the mosque clear of Simpson’s charges.

Whether it is the membership status of the pair with the mosque, the repeated claims that they had cut ties with the mosque years ago, or that the mosque didn’t want to get involved in Simpson’s 2010 court case, the ICCPA leaders can’t seem to keep their story straight.

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Kansas City Mosque That Wanted to Ban Free Speech Will Hold Funeral for TX Jihadist Nadir Soofi

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A Kansas City mosque that petitioned Barack Obama to ban free speech defaming Islam in 2012 will hold the funeral for one of the two jihadists killed in a shootout Sunday outside a Dallas-area convention center that was hosting a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest.

The Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City (ISGKC) will hold a funeral on Thursday for Nadir Soofi, according to KCTV5:

The funeral for one of the people suspected in a chilling attack outside a Texas art contest will be held in the metro.

While Nadir Soofi never lived in the metro his father lives in an Overland Park neighborhood near 158th Place with his wife, Nadir’s stepmother. A woman who came to the door at the home told KCTV5 that the family didn’t want to talk about what happened to Soofi.

Police say the 34-year-old and 30-year-old Elton Simpson opened fire at a Dallas area conference center on Sunday. An art exhibit and contest depicting the Prophet Mohammad was being held there.

They wounded a security guard before police shot back, killing both.

While not mentioned in the article’s text, the KCTV5 video report specifically states that Soofi’s funeral service will be at ISGKC.

As I reported at PJ Media back in September 2012, ISGKC launched an online petition calling for Barack Obama to sponsor a bill limiting the free speech of American citizens by criminalizing insults to religion (namely, Islam) following international protest of the “Innocence of Muslims” video.

The petition, which was signed by the ISGKC executive board and posted on the mosque’s website, received 348 signatures. One of the mosque board members defended the petition in an interview with the local media following our PJ Media report:

“Insulting somebody else or putting somebody down can insight violence and lead to people losing their lives. We’re trying not to give these people a chance to misbehave,” said Mohammed Kohia, who started the petition along with the executive board of the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City.

But as a local ACLU attorney explained:

Somebody’s speech is no excuse for violence, that’s right … but you can’t punish the speaker for the violence practiced by others. While I understand why they’re upset, their preposition is clearly unconstitutional.

As I noted at the time, the position of ISGKC was particularly peculiar given that the mosque had hosted internationally renowned Islamic hate speaker Khalid Yasin, whose controversial statements include calling for the death penalty for gays and describing the beliefs of Christians and Jews as “filth.”

An Australian news channel exposed Yasin’s extremist views back in 2005:

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So with Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson’s attempts to silence speakers at Sunday’s event in Texas, perhaps Soofi’s funeral at ISGKC is appropriate.

UPDATE: In the “you can’t make this up” category, Kyle Shideler notes that Nadir Soofi “liked” Khalid Yasin on his Facebook page:

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EXCLUSIVE: FBI, DHS Assessed Terror Attack Threat to Texas ‘Draw Muhammad’ Contest as ‘UNLIKELY’

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

As online chatter about a Muhammad cartoon contest began to escalate last week, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Joint Intelligence Bulletin last Thursday. The bulletin acknowledged the potential threat, but downplayed the possibility of any violence targeting the event.

The bulletin concluded that while the event could inspire violence abroad by contributing to terrorist messaging, it was “unlikely” that such violence would happen in the United States.

A copy of the FBI/DHS bulletin is provided exclusively by PJ Media below.

On Sunday night, two men – Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, roommates from Phoenix — did in fact show up at the event location in Garland, Texas, armed with semi-automatic weapons and body armor. Both were quickly killed in an exchange of gunfire before there was any direct threat to anyone inside the facility. One police officer was shot in the ankle — he was treated at the hospital and later released.

According to sources involved in the investigation into the terror attack and law enforcement preparations leading up to last Sunday’s event, there was virtually no online chatter about the cartoon contest until early last week.

The chatter began when news broke that two Muslim congressmen, Keith Ellison and Andre Carson, had appealed to Secretary of State John Kerry to deny entry into the U.S. for Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

Wilders was scheduled to be the featured speaker at Sunday’s cartoon contest.

One law enforcement source who was monitoring potential threats to the event told PJ Media the following:

[Ellison and Carson] clearly set things off. Nothing was being said until that news story came out, and then the usual suspects began to talk about it. By the time the weekend rolled around, there were clear and identifiable incitements calling for an attack on the event.

During this crescendo of online chatter, an FBI/DHS bulletin titled “‘Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest’ in Texas on 3 May Likely to Prompt Violent Extremist Reaction Abroad; Violence Less Likely at Home” was sent out to law enforcement agencies four days before the event was held.

The bulletin initially acknowledges a potential threat existed following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January and the attack on an event where a Muhammad cartoonist appeared in Copenhagen in February:

On 3 May 2015 the “American Freedom Defense InitiativeUSPER” (AFDI) is sponsoring in Garland, Texas a “Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest,” for the stated purpose of “defend[ing] free speech and not give[ing] in to violent intimidation.” The FBI and DHS assess this motivation refers to deadly violent extremist attacks over recent months on institutions or events perceived as defaming the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Although there is no specific, credible intelligence concerning threats to the event thus far, we assess that this event carries the risk of being targeted by violent extremists because past events involving the alleged defamation of Islam and the prophet, Muhammad, have resulted in threats or overt acts of violence overseas, to include threats against both artists and publishers.

But by the end of the FBI/DHS analysis, they conclude that since such attacks had not happened here yet, they were unlikely to now:

Although past events involving the alleged defamation of Islam and the prophet, Muhammad, have resulted in threats or overt acts of violence overseas, we have not yet seen such violence in the United States. The most frequent reaction among US-based homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) is discussion and verbal disapproval via online communication platforms, including websites with violent extremist content and social media sites.† We assess it is unlikely that any one event perceived to defame Islam would alone mobilize HVEs to violence; however, such events are incorporated into violent extremist messaging and narratives involving Western persecution of Muslims, which we do assess overall to contribute to radicalization to violence.‡ US-based HVEs remain largely unconnected to each other, and their behaviors are often highly individualized, impeding our ability to predict their reactions with a great deal of confidence. We also judge US-based HVEs and violent extremists in other Western nations who are skilled in information technology have the capability to carry out a cyber-intrusion attack against organizations or individuals perceived to be defaming Islam.

On Sunday night, that analysis proved to be wrong.

The bulletin concluded with a list of suspicious activities, which they warn could still be “constitutionally protected.”

A source I spoke to last night suggested that the conventional wisdom of federal law enforcement and homeland security agencies on the nature of the domestic terror threat is reminiscent of a pre-9/11 mentality:

These agencies are stuck in a belief that domestic terrorism is something that happens “over there” and that will never come here. They get reinforced by our media and academics who tell them that jihadist terror in Europe is something that only happens because of alienation and poverty — not realizing how dramatically things have changed over the past few years. Where we used to see individuals and small groups traveling overseas to fight with terrorists, virtually every Western country, including the U.S., now have hundreds who have joined the jihad in Syria and Iraq.

This bulletin they put out last week is an example of how analysis and threat assessment gets done. Rather than looking at what happened in Paris and Copenhagen and determining that the threat was escalating, they rely on preformed biases to spin the facts to fit their narrative to conclude there was no threat. My concern is that they are now going to look at what happened [Sunday night] and determine that it was a random one-off event rather than a warning sign of what’s quickly headed our way.

According to those close to the investigation, the real heroes who quickly eliminated the threat on Sunday were the Texas Department of Public Safety, who took the online threats seriously. The threats included inciting tweets from known foreign Islamic State operatives overseas (namely, IS cybercaliphate chief Junaid Hussain), leading them to deploy a “massive” presence at the cartoon contest event.

The response from the FBI and DHS following yet another intelligence failure remains to be seen.

FBI/DHS JIB & Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Texas on 3 May;

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Texas Attack Is Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism, Suspect ID’d as Elton Simpson of Phoenix

Monday, May 4th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

BE SURE TO SEE UPDATES BELOW. 2nd shooter identified as Nadir Soofi, see UPDATE #3

The name of one of the suspects in last night’s shootout outside a Dallas-area free speech event has been released.

ABC News 13 in Phoenix has ID’d Elton Simpson as the individual who posted a message with #texasattack to his Twitter account just before the shooting.

twitter.com_2015-05-03_23-53-45aThey report:

A controversial cartoon contest in north Texas yesterday depicting the prophet Mohammed ended in deadly gunfire.

ABC News can confirm that one of the suspects is Elton Simpson, an Arizona man who was previously the subject of a terror investigation. He’s from Phoenix and television stations in Phoenix are reporting the second shooter was Simpson’s roommate. We’re still waiting on his name.

The FBI believes Simpson sent out a tweet using the hashtag #texasattack about a half hour before shooting.

ABC News adds that police have been executing search warrants at Simpson’s home in Phoenix overnight.

It appears that this attack is yet another case of what I have termed “known wolf” syndrome, when the suspect is already known to law enforcement and intelligence. Virtually every terror attack in the West over the past year has been by one of these “known wolf” suspects.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

Simpson was well known to the FBI, ABC News reported. Five years ago he was convicted for lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Africa, “but a judge ruled the government did not adequately prove he was going to join a terror group there.”

Simpson was apparently known to the FBI since 2006:

UCLA Law professor Eugene Volokh actually wrote about Simpson’s case back in 2011. Quoting from the judicial opinion:

On January 13, 2010, a grand jury indicted Defendant Elton Simpson for knowingly and willfully making a materially false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). The indictment also charged that the statement involved international and domestic terrorism. The indictment specified that on or about January 7, 2010, the Defendant falsely stated to special agents of the FBI that he had not discussed traveling to Somalia, when in fact he had discussed with others traveling to Somalia for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad. The Government is charging Mr. Simpson with making a false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1001. The Government is also charging that the false statement involves international or domestic terrorism as defined under section 2331, so that he is eligible for a sentence enhancement pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §1001. [...]

… The problem … is that the Government has not established with the requisite level of proof, that the Defendant’s potential travel to Somalia (and his false statement about his discussions regarding his travels) was sufficiently “related” to international terrorism. Rather, the Government missed several steps to meeting its burden for establishing this charge. As a result, the Court cannot find the Defendant eligible for the sentence enhancement.

According to ABC News, Simpson was convicted of lying to the FBI, but was placed on probation and never went to prison.

I’ve been chronicling these recent “Known Wolf” terrorism cases here at PJ Media:

Oct. 24, 2014: ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Known Wolf’: The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

Dec. 15, 2014: Sydney Hostage Taker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Jan. 7, 2015: Paris Terror Attack Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 3, 2015: French Police Terror Attacker Yesterday Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 15, 2015: Copenhagen Killer Was yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Feb. 26, 2015: Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Apr. 22, 2015: Botched Attack on Paris Churches Another Case of “Known Wolf” Terrorism

This was also the subject of a Capitol Hill briefing I gave back in late January sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET):

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LIVE BLOG: Apparent Terror Attack in Dallas Targeting Free Speech Event

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

4:30a OK it’s been 8+ hours and we still don’t have IDs on the suspects. Police probably waiting until later this morning. So with that, I’ll close out this live blog with one last hot take:

4:24a Some more smart takes

4:17a Cambridge, MA

4:09a Here was the update from the Garland PD earlier:

Several law enforcement agencies, including SWAT and bomb squad officers from multiple local departments, DPS, FBI, and others, continue to investigate the shooting incident outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. Around the end of an event at the center (7PM), two males drove up to the front of the building and opened fire on a Garland ISD security officer. Garland PD officers returned fire, shot and killed both of the men. The Garland ISD security officer suffered non life threatening gunshot injuries and has already been released from the hospital. Police suspect the suspect vehicle may contain an incendiary device. This has prompted bomb squad response from Plano and other agencies. At this hour, police, bomb squad officers and robots continue to investigate the suspect vehicle. Businesses and streets in the immediate area have been closed. Tonight’s event was a “Draw the Prophet” Muhammad art exhibit. The winning cartoonist would receive a $10,000 prize. As mentioned earlier in this post, the shooting occurred near end of that event. As also reported, tonight’s event was at the Curtis Culwell Center, the same location as a “Stand with the Prophet” event earlier this year in January.

*Garland PD requests that people avoid this area until further notice as the investigation continues.*

3;50a Some UK media rolling in now

3:46a Canadian “anti-extremist”

3:35a

3:32a

https://twitter.com/ttrinidad/status/595124827955933184

3:24a Holy cow

CEJJERfVEAA3rBL

3:17a There’s no keeping up with all the stupid on social media tonight.

3:09a

3:04a

2:51a Here is Tom Trento’s video report from the event, when ~1:19:14 they first learn of the shooting; ~1:29:00 is when security enters and announces shots fired outside and move the audience to a secure room.

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2:46a Wisdom from an “aspiring political journalist”

https://twitter.com/Habibah_Amin/status/595115812161105920

2:41a

2:24a

2:22a Newsweek correspondent calls Geert Wilders an “agent provocateur”

2:17a

Muslim Congressmen Exhibit Outrageous Hypocrisy in Trying to Ban Dutch Politician Geert Wilders from U.S.

Friday, May 1st, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Last week, two Muslim members of Congress, Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN), sent a letter to the State Department requesting that they deny a visa to Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Wilders was coming to Washington, D.C. for a Capitol Hill event sponsored by Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA).

Unsuccessful in their attempts to have Wilders banned, Ellison, Carson and their associates from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) tried to disrupt a press conference on free speech with Wilders, Gohmert, and King in front of the U.S. Capitol yesterday. Ellison promoted their actions on Twitter:

Leave aside the spurious legal reasoning they employed to try to deny Wilders a visa, aptly refuted by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, and that their attempts to tie Wilders to Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik had been thoroughly debunked by none other than Breivik himself. What makes the pair’s anti-free speech behavior so outrageously hypocritical is that they both have stood silent as the Obama administration has allowed a long line of extremists, and even members of terrorist organizations, to enter the United States.

Even worse, the two Muslim congressmen have regularly promoted and associated with organizations that have been designated as terrorist organizations, and individuals and groups that have been tagged in federal court by the Justice Department.

For instance, in May 2012 a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (still a designated terrorist organization), Hani Nour Eldin, was allowed to enter the U.S. and was even escorted into the White House for a private meeting with Obama’s national security staff. Ellison and Carson didn’t utter a word in protest.

Nor did they express the slightest concern when members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were given VIP treatment typically reserved for visiting dignitaries at JFK Airport.

When Sudanese genocide henchman Nafie Ali Nafie (aka “Nafie the Butcher”) was given a visa by the State Department in 2013, the Muslim congressmen again were mute.

And nothing was said when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before Congress in July 2012 that she would allow more members of terrorist organizations into the country.

Their voice was also absent following the news last year that the Clinton State Department maintained a terrorist “hands-off” list for entry into the U.S., revealed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), or as Homeland Security continued to stonewall congressional requests for information on such terrorist “hands-off” lists.

So Ellison and Carson have deemed Geert Wilders, who has been subject to repeated threats from Islamic terror organizations and has had to live with 24/7 security for more than a decade, a greater threat than members of terrorist groups, genocidal henchmen, and Islamic extremists.

That glaring silence might be telling of where their sympathies really lie, if it weren’t for their open and unashamed support of terrorist fronts and cheerleaders. As I reported here at PJ Media late last December, Carson was scheduled to appear at the 2014 Muslim American Society (MAS)-Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) annual conference on a Ferguson panel with Mazen Mokhtar, an individual that federal agents had testified in federal court had operated an Al-Qaeda website to raise money for the Taliban.

Carson’s appearance at the MAS-ICNA event was not only promoted on the conference website, but also in the conference program:

Carson-Moktar750

A few days later, Carson tried to walk back his appearance at the conference, claiming he didn’t speak on the panel with Mokhtar. However, Carson never addressed the fact that the conference itself was Mohktar’s. (Mokhtar is currently executive directtor of the primary conference sponsor, MAS).

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San Diego Man Arrested for Working for Al-Qaeda Sharia Court in Syria, Fighting with Terror Group

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Yesterday the FBI in San Diego arrested Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati, a naturalized U.S. citizen since September 2008, for making false statements to U.S. Embassy officials, Customs and Border Protection and the FBI related to his time in Syria and Turkey over the past two years. Kodaimati left the U.S. in late December 2012 and returned on March 23.

According to the FBI affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed today in the case against Kodaimati, the 24-year-old man was caught in a series of lies related to his work on behalf of a sharia court operated by Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria and a U.S. designated terrorist organization, and also his role mediating between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.

Ultimately, Kodaimati was tripped up by his posts to Facebook.

According to the FBI, he stated in a September 2013 private message on Facebook that he worked for the sharia court in Hanano near Aleppo. He would post media statements from the Nusra-operated sharia court to social media.

The FBI complaint also alleges that Kodaimati was a close associate with a senior ISIS operative in the area, with whom he mediated on behalf of others in the area to resolve conflicts between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. He also posted pictures to his Facebook account (now removed) of him with another known ISIS operative.

In his Facebook communications, he also recounted how he, his father and his brother fought with Jabhat al-Nusra against the Assad regime for four months.

He was initially questioned at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on March 10 and 11. He was later questioned about his activities in Syria by Customs and Border Patrol upon his reentry to the U.S. at the airport in Charlotte, NC, on March 23, and later by the FBI in Charlotte on March 25. After being questioned at his home in San Diego yesterday, he was taken into custody.

Here’s the FBI complaint:

Kodaimati Criminal Complaint by Stewart Bell

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Botched Attack on Paris Churches Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

News reports this morning indicate that France averted a major terror attack in Paris over the weekend after the suspect inadvertently shot himself in the leg. Police discovered plans in the suspect’s car to attack churchgoers leaving church on Sunday.

The unnamed suspect was already known to French intelligence agencies and had previously been subject to police surveillance, making this yet another case of what I have termed “known wolf” terrorism. [The suspect has now been identified as Sid Ahmed Ghlam. See update below.]

The New York Times reports:

A 24-year-old computer science student suspected of planning an imminent attack on at least one church and of involvement in the murder of a woman was taken into custody in Paris over the weekend, the French authorities said on Wednesday.

The student was arrested on Sunday, and the police found heavy weapons, handguns, ammunition and bulletproof vests in his home and car, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Mr. Cazeneuve did not identify the student, nor the church or churches that he was believed to be targeting.

“Detailed documents were also found, establishing without any doubt that the individual was planning an imminent attack, most likely against one or two churches,” Mr. Cazeneuve said. “That attack was avoided on Sunday morning.”

The Guardian adds, based on a Le Monde article, that the subject was already on the French intelligence radar:

Le Monde said the man had settled in France in 2009. Cazeneuve said he had been under surveillance since 2014 when he made it known he wished to go to Syria to join jihadis there. He disappeared in February this year and was found to have spent a week in Turkey. He was arrested, briefly held, and given a warning on his return, but his profile was not thought to justify further action beyond circulating a security warning.

“Our country, like other European countries, is facing a terrorist threat that is unusual in its nature and size. Our vigilance and our determination are absolute and constant,” the minister added.

Events just of the past month have shown that their vigilance is far from “absolute and constant.” As I reported here at PJ Media back in January, the Kouachi brothers — who massacred 11 people and wounded another 11 in an attack on the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper — were already known to French authorities.

Cherif Kouachi had been arrested and sentenced to prison back in 2005 for his role in helping send fighters to Iraq to attack coalition soldiers. At the time of the attack, he was on both the U.S. and UK terror watch lists. It was later reported that Said Kouachi had been subject to surveillance orders since 2011 after he had returned from terror training in Yemen, but that the surveillance on Said had been stopped in June 2014 – just six months before the attack — because he was deemed to no longer be dangerous by security services. Similarly, surveillance had been stopped at the end of 2013 on Cherif because authorities believed he had disengaged from “violent extremism.”

As I I reported here in February, a man who stabbed three French police officers standing guard outside a synagogue in Nice had just been deported from Turkey to France a week before the attack because he was believed to be en route to join ISIS in Syria.

French authorities are not alone in these “known wolf” failures.

When I I first identified the “known wolf terrorism” phenomenon back in October, it was after two separate terror attacks in Canada in less than a week by two individuals already known to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Both had their passports revoked for fear they would leave the country for Syria to join terror groups there.

I noted at the time that virtually all of the American Islamic terror cases since 9/11 involved “known wolf” attackers.

Here’s my reporting on “known wolf terrorism” syndrome:

Oct. 24, 2014: ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Known Wolf’: The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

Dec. 15, 2014: Sydney Hostage Taker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Jan. 7, 2015: Paris Terror Attack Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 3, 2015: French Police Terror Attacker Yesterday Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 15, 2015: Copenhagen Killer Was yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Feb. 26, 2015: Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

In January, I gave a briefing on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) on “Known Wolf” terrorism:

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In February, I conducted an interview with my friend and colleague Erick Stakelbeck on the phenomenon:

Even the New York Times picked up the term in March, if only to explain away the failures of law enforcement. The term was also used when London Mayor Boris Johnson slammed the UK Home Secretary for dropping surveillance orders on Mohammed Emwazi, who has been featured in ISIS videos beheading Western prisoners.

Even well-paid U.S. terrorism consultants are trying to cash in by suddenly discovering the “known wolf” terrorism problem:

The Soufan Group, a New York think tank, said a better term for “lone wolves” would be “known wolves”, given how many are already known to Western intelligence agencies before they strike.

“These individuals, acting alone or in small groups … have been on the radar of various agencies and organisations, highlighting the difficulty of effectively monitoring and managing people at the nexus of criminality and terrorism,” it said in a report this week.

For the Soufan Group, the most serious threat came from people with known associations with radicals and a string of past offenses.

What makes these many instances of “known wolf” terrorism so tragic is that it is never a case of the subject falling off the radar of authorities or escaping surveillance. In each and every case, they have either been deliberately removed from the radar after mistakenly being judged as not a threat, or, more amazingly, authorities were aware of the threat yet did nothing out of indifference or incompetence.

As the case in Paris on Sunday shows, we can expect the “known wolf” terror problem by Western intelligence and law enforcement authorities to continue.

UPDATE: The suspect has been identified as Sid Ahmed Ghlam.

cc84912e352d24a1c902d67fa2dda30d0bf4fd7b8f1a4a2a9c54a69df81176d3The Local has more information on his background and previous contacts with French authorities.

Further searches of his student lodgings in the 13th arrondissement unearthed several more automatic weapons, described as a “real arsenal of military weapons” according to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Cazeneuve said evidence on his Facebook account suggested he was planning to target “one or two churches” in the Villejuif suburb to the south of Paris on that Sunday.

French prosecutor François Mollins said on Wednesday that Al Qaeda and Isis documents were also found in his flat and that he was in contact with an individual in Syria who is believed to have instructed him to attack churches.

The suspect was born in Algeria but came to France in 2009 to join up with other members of his family who were already in the country.

The suspect was a student from 2010 to 2012 at the IT college SUPINFO in Paris where an unnamed source told the French daily Le Figaro that he came across as a normal student.

French authorities deemed him not dangerous enough to open a judicial case against him, even though he was implicated in a violent attack two years ago:

Cazeneuve said that intelligence services were aware of the individual and had placed him under surveillance for several months in 2014 and 2015.

However according to reports the suspect did nothing to raise their suspicions or to prompt counter-terror police to open a case against him.

Whilst he is reported to have spent a week in Turkey, he is not believed to have followed the route of many jihadists by crossing into Syria.

No links were established between him and established networks that help jihadists reach Syria. However the DGSI did create a special file on the subject titled “S” meaning “state security”, so if any authority checked his identity they would know he had been surveyed and the level of danger he was ranked at.

He came to their attention after expressing his desire to fight alongside jihadists in Syria. Some members of his family and his partner have also been taken into custody for questioning, including his sister who was reportedly recently radicalised.

He was also known to the police after being implicated in a violent attack two years ago.

Reports indicate he planned an attack on the Catholic church of Saint-Cyr Sainte-Julitte in Villejuif. Ghlam is also being investigated in the murder of a 32-year-old Aurélie Châtelain, mother of a 5-year-old girl, who authorities believe was shot as Ghlam attempted to steal her car on Sunday morning.

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Ohio Terror Suspect Was Caught Lying to FBI Two Days After Becoming Naturalized U.S. Citizen

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

An Ohio man indicted by a federal grand jury on terrorism support charges last week, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, was questioned by the FBI two days after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

During that questioning, he was caught lying about his identity.

Several days later, Mohamud applied for a U.S. passport and was allowed to travel to Syria. There, he fought and trained with Jabhat al-Nusra — an official al-Qaeda affiliate — and then was allowed to return to the U.S. where he planned to launch terror attacks inside the U.S.

These remarkable revelations of FBI failure emerged from documents unsealed by the federal court and from last week’s indictment.

According to the indictment (p.2), Mohamud became a naturalized U.S. citizen on February 18 last year, and applied for a U.S. passport a week later:

On or about February 18, 2014, MOHAMUD became a naturalized U.S. citizen. On or about February 25, 2014, MOHAMUD submitted his U.S. passport application.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports today, the FBI interviewed Mohamud on Feb. 20th — two days after his naturalization ceremony — during which FBI agents caught him lying about his identity:

The FBI first spoke to Mr. Mohamud more than a year ago, but that intervention didn’t appear to prevent the native of Somalia from traveling overseas. During the Feb. 20, 2014, interview, federal agents said Mr. Mohamud tried to lie about his identity. He first told investigators he was his older brother, Abdifatah Aden, who had already left the U.S. in 2013 and was believed to be fighting in Syria on behalf of Nusra Front and raising money for the cause, according to court documents.

“When challenged about his truthfulness, he admitted his true identity,” Mr. Flowers of the FBI wrote in a court affidavit. It wasn’t clear from court documents how agents reacted to Mr. Mohamud’s reversal.

And yet, Mohamud was allowed to obtain a U.S. passport and travel to Turkey six weeks later, where he joined up with terror operatives after crossing the border into Syria.

After Mohamud returned to the U.S. last June, the newly unsealed court documents claim that he then began weapons training with others in the Columbus area. The Wall Street Journal article continues:

Three months after he returned from training with violent extremists in Syria, a 23-year-old Ohio man hosted a shooting group at a local gun range, federal authorities allege in newly unsealed court papers.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud rented a shooting lane in the Columbus area last September, court papers say. When a range officer offered to instruct him and his two associates how to use their borrowed pistol, Mr. Mohamud allegedly declined, implying he could teach the others.

“Organizing weapons training is consistent with individuals who previously obtained training from … training camps to, upon return to their homeland, seek to recruit a group of young male adults in order to lead them to be like-minded jihadist believers prepared to fight,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Stephen Flowers wrote in court documents.

For eight months until his arrest in late February this year, Mohamud was allowed to roam freely within the U.S. and train others in handling firearms.

Here is a timeline of events:

Feb. 18, 2014: Mohamud becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Feb. 20, 2014: The FBI interviews Mohamud, during which time he is caught lying about his identity. The same day he communicates with his brother already in Syria about his travel plans to join him.

Feb. 25, 2014: Mohamud applies for a U.S. passport.

April 8, 2014: He purchases a one-way airline ticket with a stopover in Istanbul, Turkey.

April 18, 2014: He departs the U.S. and arrives in Turkey the following day.

June 3, 2014: His older brother, Aden, is reported killed fighting in Syria.

June 8, 2014: He returns to the U.S.

Approx. Sept 2014: He trains others in handling weapons at a Columbus firing range.

Feb. 25, 2015: Mohamud is arrested on state terrorism support charges.

April 16, 2015: He is indicted by a federal grand jury.

Even with an FBI informant among Mohamud’s associates, it would be hard to paint this as the Bureau’s finest hour. As I noted here at PJ Media last week, the FBI has been less than forthcoming to the public about the scope of the threat of U.S. persons who have traveled to fight in Syria and the number of those who have returned.

As additional details become available, it may become even more clear how the FBI botched the handling of this potential threat.

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Did FBI Director Mislead on Americans Joining ISIS Before Mid-Term Elections?

Friday, April 17th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

For more than a year, U.S. officials have been warning of the potential terror blowback from Americans who have fought in Syria. Senior counter-terrorism officials have repeatedly claimed that more than 100 individuals have traveled from the U.S. to fight with terror groups in Syria and Iraq.

However, FBI Director James Comey began to walk those claims back in late September and early October — just weeks before the November mid-term elections.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, he claimed that “roughly a dozen” U.S. persons were fighting with extremist groups in Syria.

That was a marked change from his own comments in May, when his own figures were considerably higher:

Comey declined to give a precise figure for Americans believed to be involved in the Syrian struggle but said the numbers are “getting worse.”

“I said dozens last time,” said Comey, referring to an interview with reporters four months ago. “It’s still dozens, just a couple more dozen.”

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official estimated this year that 60 to 70 Americans have traveled to fight in Syria. Comey said that Americans in Syria are actively recruiting other Americans to join the fight.

Several dozen in May 2014 is still considerably more than “roughly a dozen” just a few months later.

An Associated Press article allowed Comey to explain his walk-back on his own numbers:

“When I use a number of more than 100, that means people who have gone and come back, people who have attempted to go and we locked them up, people who have gone and stayed,” Comey said during an interview with reporters at FBI headquarters. “The figure that I’ve been operating with is, ballparkish, a dozen still there fighting with terrorist groups.”

The AP reporters deemed the 100-plus Americans fighting in Syria claim that had been repeated by a number of U.S. senior officials — including Comey himself — as having reached “urban legend status.”

But once America was past the mid-term elections, the stated numbers provided by senior officials quickly soared.

In early March, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed that 180 U.S. persons had traveled to Syria. More remarkably, he claimed that 40 such individuals had already returned to the United States.

According to Reuters, Clapper also said that he was not aware of any plots that anyone who had returned from Syria had been involved in. However, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud had already been arrested on state terror charges at the request of the FBI a week before Clapper made his comments.

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Italian Police: Muslim Migrants Threw Christians Overboard in Crossing from Libya

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A horrific story coming out of Sicily.

CNN reports:

Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.

Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.

The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police said.

The Associated Press adds:

During the crossing, the migrants from Nigeria and Ghana — believed to be Christians — were threatened with being abandoned at sea by some 15 other passengers from the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali and Guinea Bissau.

Eventually the threat was carried out and 12 were pushed overboard. The statement said the motive was that the victims “professed the Christian faith while the aggressors were Muslim.”

The surviving Christians, the statement said, only managed to stay on board by forming a “human chain” to resist the assault.

Interestingly, the CNN video appears to have been pulled from their website.

One of the top cheerleaders for the migrants crossing from Libya has been Pope Francis, who issued a communique back in September on the migration issue and has said that the EU needs to do more for the migrants, saying “we cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast graveyard.”

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U.S. Analyst Admits: ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Working With Al-Qaeda All Along

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

One of the most closely guarded secrets in Washington, D.C. about U.S. involvement in the Syrian war is that the “moderate” rebels whom the Obama administration (and many Republicans) backed were closely aligned with al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra. They were also, at times, aligned with the Islamic State.

For regular PJ Media readers, this will come as no surprise. I’ve repeatedly documented the ties between the State Department’s “vetted moderate” rebel groups and designated terrorist groups based on snippets of reporting that challenged the administration’s official narrative.

But now the “moderate” rebels are on their heels and in retreat from internecine pressure from Jabhat al-Nusra. Brookings Institute-Doha Syria analyst Charles Lister — who has probably had as much direct contact with “rebel” leaders as any other U.S. analyst — has finally admitted to the long-time cooperation between “moderates” and “extremists.”

In an article published last month on the Brookings website, Lister states:

This latter alliance with Jabhat al-Nusra has been a consistent facet of insurgent dynamics in Syria, but not only in terms of conservative Salafist groups like Ahrar al-Sham. In fact, while rarely acknowledged explicitly in public, the vast majority of the Syrian insurgency has coordinated closely with Al-Qaeda since mid-2012 – and to great effect on the battlefield. But while this pragmatic management of relationships may have secured opposition military victories against the regime, it has also come at an extraordinary cost. The assimilation of Al-Qaeda into the broader insurgency has discouraged the U.S. and its European allies from more definitively backing the ‘moderate’ opposition. That, by extension, has encouraged the intractability of the conflict we see today and the rise of jihadist factions like Jabhat al-Nusra, IS, and many others.

A year-and-a-half ago, uttering this outside of the polite company of the D.C. foreign policy “smart set” would have gotten you branded a heretic.

The official narrative of the administration and the McCain/Graham “war at any cost” wing of the GOP was that the vast majority of rebels were moderate, as expressed in John Kerry’s testimony before McCain’s committee in September 2013. Such deep and complex truths were unworthy of the unwashed American masses at a time when many in D.C. were openly calling for more heavy weapons to be sent to the “vetted moderate” rebels.

But with the sudden surge of ISIS last June and the announcement of the re-establishment of the Islamic State, the narrative was getting harder to publicly maintain — even as the Obama administration did in fact begin sending heavy weaponry to the “vetted moderate” rebels.

The “smart set” then began to drop hints that the “vetted moderate” rebels were not so moderate after all, but certainly nothing so candid to give the whole game away. Lister notes that the rebel cooperation with Jabhat al-Nusra going back to mid-2012 (Nusra announced its formation in January 2012) was “rarely acknowledged explicitly in public.”

Now with things going very badly in Syria and Iraq, the “smart set” is divided between walking back their support for the rebels, or doubling-down on their support by saying the U.S. needs to begin backing “moderate al-Qaeda”.

The media has been more forthcoming about our “vetted moderate” allies since American reporters began losing their heads under Islamic State knives.

In late October, American journalist Theo Padnos — who was captured by the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and then given over to Jabhat al-Nusra — told the story of his two-year captivity in the New York Times Magazine. At one point, Padnos says he escaped from his Al-Qaeda captors and found himself back in the hands of the FSA, who then, again, promptly turned him back over to the terror group.

Padnos also relates this exchange with some U.S.-trained FSA fighters that exposes the glaring weaknesses of the CIA’s vetting system:

I returned to the FSA troops. One told me that his unit had recently traveled to Jordan to receive training from American forces in fighting groups like the Nusra Front.

“Really?” I said. “The Americans? I hope it was good training.”

“Certainly, very,” he replied.

The fighters stared at me. I stared at them.

After a few moments, I asked, “About this business of fighting Jebhat al Nusra?”

“Oh, that,” one said. “We lied to the Americans about that.”

The treatment of Padnos by the FSA is important to recall in light of the revelations yesterday and today that that an NBC News crew taken captive in Syria in December 2012, and who later repeatedly claimed they had been held by an Assad regime militia, now admit – following a New York Times investigation – that they were in fact held by an FSA criminal network.

Also, there is evidence that NBC News executives knew from the time of the crew’s capture that they were held by U.S. allies, but allowed the blame to fall on Assad since that didn’t conflict with the Obama administration’s position at the time.

An example of this newfound openness on the part of the establishment media was an Associated Press report in late November that noted the close cooperation of U.S.-backed rebels with al-Qaeda in southern Syria:

The gains are a contrast to northern Syria, where U.S.-backed rebels are collapsing in the face of an assault by Islamic militants. Notably, in the south, the rebels are working together with fighters from al-Qaeda’s Syria branch, whose battle-hardened militants have helped them gain the momentum against government forces. The cooperation points to the difficulty in American efforts to build up “moderate” factions while isolating extremists.

Over the past year I’ve reported at PJ Media on the slow cracks emerging in the official “vetted moderate rebel” narrative:

July 7: US ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic State

Sept 3: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept 9: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept 10: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept 13: Yet Another US-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Makes Peace with ISIS

Sept 24: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov 2: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov 3:  How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov 24: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec 2: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with Al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec 14: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec 28: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective Al-Qaeda Control

March 3: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

It’s refreshing to see the D.C. “smart set” and the establishment media finally ‘fessing up to what has been going on in Syria, “rarely acknowledged explicitly in public.” But the damage done by the Obama administration’s policy, (backed up by the McCain/Graham GOP chorus), such as the hundreds of thousands dead, is irreversible.

Who in D.C. or the media will be held to account for this failure?

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BOMBSHELL: Afghan Colonel Was Paid $250,000 to Kill U.S. Air Force Personnel, Pentagon Cover-Up Ensued

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A bombshell revelation has emerged about the incident responsible for the greatest U.S. Air Force loss of life during the War on Terror, the deadliest “green-on-blue” attack during U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

On April 27, 2011, Afghan Air Force Colonel Ahmad Gul gunned down eight U.S. Air Force personnel and a civilian contractor inside the Afghan Air Force headquarters, including investigators who had just arrived in the country to examine rampant corruption in the Afghan military.

Multiple Air Force and CENTCOM investigations claimed to find no motive for the attack, leaving the families of those killed with no answers.

Now, a senior U.S. official has gone on the record claiming that a United Nations team tracked substantial payments to the killer and his family made days just prior to the incident.

These revelations appear in the season finale of For The Record, which airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on The Blaze TV.

For the past year, I have worked as a consultant with the For The Record documentary investigative team looking into the Kabul airport massacre and the Pentagon’s handling of the matter. Last November, I appeared on an episode of the program noting that the Pentagon’s multiple explanations for the attack didn’t match their own forensics. Here’s a trailer for that For The Record episode, “Insider Attack”:

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A follow-up report on the Pentagon’s handling of the spike in “green-on-blue” incidents appeared in January, after the killing of U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene in August last year. He is the highest-ranking U.S. official killed during the War on Terror. The report noted that U.S. personnel who warned of a potential escalation of insider attacks were punished by their superiors:

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Tonight’s For The Record episode includes an interview with one of the top U.S. officials charged with combating illicit financing in Afghanistan. He reveals the payoffs made to Col. Ahmad Gul:

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Sara Carter, senior investigative reporter for The Blaze, reported today on the stunning revelation that this official’s team tracked $250,000 in payments to the killer:

A final investigation by U.S. Central Command did find circumstantial evidence that Gul may have been involved in a criminal network, but that evidence was not pursued and a large portion of the investigation still remains classified, according to CENTCOM.

But a six-month investigation by For the Record suggests that Gul murdered the airmen at the behest of someone or a criminal network, according to numerous sources and military documents.

For the Record learned that a joint investigation conducted by then-U.S. Task Force 2010, charged at the time with tracing terror financing in Afghanistan and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, found that Gul had received a large deposit in a family bank account and that all of his debts were wiped clean just one week before the killings.

Thomas Creal, who served as the lead expert for Task Force 2010, investigated the killer’s finances and found evidence he says overwhelmingly points to Gul’s connection to criminal networks.

This report has never been made public.

“There was extensive corruption inside the Afghan military and investigations were cut short, hampered by ranking personnel at the State Department and military,” Creal said. “The insider killings don’t need to continue. We can take steps to mitigate these suicidal hits but we can’t do it if evidence is ignored.”

The Pentagon cover-up began almost immediately after the massacre, most likely to avoid embarrassing revelations of rampant corruption by our Afghan “allies.” The initial report had to be followed up by a second and third report after the lies in the first began to be challenged — including the first report’s claim that Gul had committed suicide after the attack, but was later found to have died from gunshot wounds to the chest from two different weapons.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the effect found in their own reports, the Pentagon claimed to find no conclusive evidence of Taliban involvement — even though the terror group immediately claimed credit for the attack.

This resulted in bizarre reporting on the Pentagon’s findings, such as an Air Force Times article entitled “Motive in Kabul shooting deaths remains elusive” that reported:

Witnesses told investigators that Gul became increasingly radical in his religious views in the years leading up to the shooting and was deeply angry at the U.S. invasion of his home country — even saying on more than one occasion that he “wanted to kill Americans”

The Afghan shooter who smeared “God is one” in blood on the walls of the Afghan Air Force headquarters during the rampage a was a distinctly different man from several decades earlier.

According to testimony from those who knew Gul, in the late ‘80s, the Afghan native drank, liked to party and wasn’t terribly religious. But just a few years later, in about 1995, that changed when Gul started to follow the teachings of the Taliban.

He attended mosque for every prayer time and grew a beard. He also “developed an authoritarian approach when seeing other individuals that did not practice Islam to his liking,” according to one person who knew Gul at the time…

In 2006, Gul decided to move to Pakistan and started attending a local mosque, where he met an “unknown prominent figure” who is believed to have radicalized him. There were also rumors that Gul wanted to be a suicide bomber.

When Gul decided to move back to Afghanistan in 2008, people asked him why he would go back.

“[Gul] responded he ‘wanted to kill Americans,’” investigators said.

But the Pentagon concluded that his possible motive remained elusive.

More explosive details from this investigation will be revealed during tonight’s For The Record’s season finale episode, “Insider Attack: The Kabul Massacre,” at 8 p.m. ET on TheBlaze TV.

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New Islamic State Video Calls for Attacks on the American Homeland, Promises Another 9/11

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

The Islamic State has released a new 11-minute video called “We Will Burn America” that calls for supporters to attack the American homeland and promises another 9/11.

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Here’s the full video — WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT:

At this juncture I would note the New York Times’ front page article on December 29 that described how America’s top war fighters, namely Special Operations Command, freely admit that they don’t understand the ideology driving ISIS and other Islamic terror groups:

WASHINGTON — Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, sought help this summer in solving an urgent problem for the American military: What makes the Islamic State so dangerous?

Trying to decipher this complex enemy — a hybrid terrorist organization and a conventional army — is such a conundrum that General Nagata assembled an unofficial brain trust outside the traditional realms of expertise within the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies, in search of fresh ideas and inspiration. Business professors, for example, are examining the Islamic State’s marketing and branding strategies.

“We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it,” he said, according to the confidential minutes of a conference call he held with the experts. “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.”

General Nagata’s frustration is shared by other American officials. Even as President Obama and his top civilian and military aides express growing confidence that Iraqi troops backed by allied airstrikes have blunted the Islamic State’s momentum on the ground in Iraq and undermined its base of support in Syria, other officials acknowledge they have barely made a dent in the larger, longer-term campaign to kill the ideology that animates the terrorist movement.

You can call in all the marketing executives and Harvard academics all you like, but when the Obama administration — meaning the entire U.S. government – as a matter of established policy refuses to acknowledge the ideology and intentions that our enemy publishes IN ENGLISH in the form of videos, audio recordings and magazines, and actively prohibits anyone in a government department or agency from discussing or speaking about said ideology, you really are beyond hope. And so is America.

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FBI Previously Dismissed Would-Be Fort Riley Suicide Bomber as ‘No Imminent Threat’ Last Year

Friday, April 10th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A bizarre turn of events as a 20-year-old man who had previously been deemed by the FBI as “no imminent threat” was arrested today for planning to conduct a suicide bombing on the Fort Riley U.S. Army base.

According to a press release from the FBI Kansas City field office:

John T. Booker Jr., 20, of Topeka, Kansas, was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives), one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Booker is expected to make an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree of the District of Kansas in federal court in Topeka.

Booker was arrested this morning near Manhattan, as he completed his final preparations to detonate a vehicle bomb targeting U.S. military personnel [...]

Booker is alleged to have spent months discussing multiple plans before deciding on a plan that involved the execution of a suicide bombing mission.

The complaint alleges Booker told another person “that detonating a suicide bomb is his number one aspiration because he couldn’t be captured, all evidence would be destroyed, and he would be guaranteed to hit his target.” Booker identified Fort Riley as a good target, “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there,” the complaint alleges.

It is alleged that since March 2015, Booker plotted to construct an explosive device for an attack on American soil. It is alleged he repeatedly stated that he desired to engage in violent jihad on behalf of ISIL. Over a period of months, he took a series of actions to advance his plot. As alleged in the complaint, Booker assisted in acquiring components for a vehicle bomb, produced a propaganda video, rented a storage locker to store components for the explosive device, identified Fort Riley as the target and talked about his commitment to trigger the device himself and become a martyr.

However, this is not the first time that Booker has been in the news.

In April 2014, Fox News reported that military authorities had issued an alert for Booker stating that he intended to commit an attack on U.S. military personnel:

The FBI is searching for a recent Army recruit believed to be planning a “Fort Hood-inspired jihad against U.S. soldiers,” FoxNews.com has learned.

The alert, whose legitimacy was confirmed by military and law enforcement officials, stated that a man identified as Booker had told friends of his “intention to commit jihad.” Booker, who is also known as Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, was recruited by the U.S. Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for basic training on April 7. But he was discharged last week, apparently after law enforcement authorities learned of his alleged plan.

Both the FBI and the 902d Military Intelligence Group at Fort Leavenworth are involved in the hunt.

The alert, a copy of which was obtained by FoxNews.com, was sent out by the FBI’s Kansas City Division on Friday and distributed through the U.S. Marine Corps. The portion obtained by FoxNews.com did not include Hassan’s photo or age. It was also sent to the Kansas City Police Department, which could indicate authorities believe he may have remained in the area where he was recruited.

And yet just days later, the same Kansas City FBI office that arrested Booker today was saying then that he presented “no imminent threat”:

The FBI put out an alert on Monday for an apparent homegrown jihadi who had enlisted in the Army in Kansas with possible plans to commit a massacre on a military base.

A spokeswoman for the FBI said later in the day that agents had interviewed the man in question and decided that he didn’t, in fact, represent a threat. “There is no manhunt. There’s never been a manhunt,” said Bridget Patton, of the Kansas City-based FBI field office. “The individual was interviewed, and it is believed there is no imminent threat to the public.”

In light of today’s events, that assessment last year seems either premature or intentionally deceptive. [See update below on active attempts by FBI & military to downplay the threat.]

The Kansas City Star added:

Roughly a year ago in early April 2014, FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said the bureau had questioned Booker in the wake of reports he harbored “jihad sympathies” and determined there was no public danger. She declined to release additional details.

“It is the belief that the public is in no imminent danger,” Patton said at the time.

She also told The Topeka Capital-Journal “there was never a manhunt” for Booker. When asked by the newspaper then if Booker was in custody, Patton said additional information wouldn’t be released.

If the current reporting is accurate, the FBI allowed a man with clearly expressed intentions to commit terrorist acts to roam freely between last April and October, when according to the indictment he encountered an FBI informant. Or alternatively, the FBI lied to the media and the public last year about how imminent a threat Booker really was. What we know now is that John T. Booker was ready to wage jihad against America and decided in recent weeks to act on those intentions.

This is yet another episode in the FBI’s extensive history of failure with respect to what I have termed “known wolf” terror cases. While in this case Booker was targeted by a FBI sting and his bomb was inert, the Boston marathon bombs weren’t inert and led to the deaths of three Americans.

How many more Americans have to die before the FBI is made to get its act together?

UPDATE: If to emphasize the point that the FBI worked HARD last year to publicly dismiss the nature of the threat, note this article “Military downplays threat from Army recruit“:

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Law enforcement officials say they interviewed a U.S. Army recruit about his Jihad sympathies and the FBI sent out an alert about him.

But officials downplayed a report by Fox News that the FBI in Kansas City had sent out an alert that was entitled, “Fort Hood-inspired threats against U.S. soldiers by Army recruit.” The network said the man was to report to basic training next week.

The report alarmed many area residents. Law enforcement and military officials said the Fox story was a bit of a stretch, but the FBI did confirm interviewing the recruit.

“An individual was contacted by the FBI and was interviewed by the FBI but at no time was it believed that the public was in any imminent threat,” FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said.

Fox News indicated that there was an active manhunt for the man.

“There’s not a manhunt. There has never been a manhunt for an individual,” Patton said.

She went on to say that the FBI follows up on tips from all different kind of sources and often shares that information with other law enforcement agencies and the military.

The FBI and military owe former Fox News reporter Jana Winter an apology.

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State Department Wanted to Engage ‘Moderate Jihadists’ in Libya

Saturday, April 4th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

During the final years of the Bush administration and throughout the Obama administration I’ve been reporting here regularly on the bipartisan call from the U.S. foreign policy elite and their media sycophants to engage “moderate Islamists” in the Middle East. In conservative circles, embracing this view warranted you being deemed among the “smarter hardliners on the Right” by the establishment media.

As I’ve repeatedly noted, whether in Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Gaza, Lebanon, Turkey, or Syria (as well as many others), this policy has had catastrophic and massively fatal consequences.

Now Eli Lake and Josh Rogin at Bloomberg have this scoop:

According to a March 2 cable from the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones — described to us by a U.S. counterterrorism official — the State Department has been considering outreach to other, supposedly more moderate elements of the militia-aligned opposition forces in an effort to balance U.S. influence and cover all political bets.

The cable, according to our source, didn’t go over well with other U.S. government agencies, and as of now U.S. policy remains to deal exclusively with the Tobruk leadership.

Of course, this policy worked out so well in Benghazi in September 2012, when the “moderate Islamist” February 17th Martyrs Brigade was charged with defending our consulate there. Interestingly, the February 17th Martyrs Brigade in Benghazi is now in open alliance with Ansar al-Sharia, the group the Obama administration has fingered for the Benghazi attack.

Just a few weeks ago I reported here the push amongst the “smart set” for the U.S. to engage “moderate Al-Qaeda.”

As I noted:

Understand, this is a continuation of a popular theme amongst the foreign policy “smart set.” See the “moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” which just a month ago declared all-out jihad on the Egyptian government. Or the New York Times, pitching “moderate” elements of the Iranian regime. Or current CIA director “Jihad” John Brennan calling for the U.S. to build up Hezbollah “moderates.” Or hapless academics proclaiming the “mellowing” of Hamas. Or the so-called “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel groups that, as I have reported here, regularly fight alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda and have even defected to those terror groups.

At this rate can the calls for engaging “moderate ISIS” be far behind?

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Syrian Rebel Group Ahrar al-Sham Executes Christians in “Liberated” Idlib

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A report from a Christian human rights group in Syria claims that the Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham (Free Men of Syria) executed two Christian men for violating Islamic law after the capture of the city of Idlib last week. Idlib is a regional capital in northwest Syria.

MCN News reported yesterday:

According to the Assyrian Observatory for Human Rights in the city of Idlib in northern Syria, an armed group called Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement executed two citizens in the city Tuesday, Elias Naguib, 83, and his son, Nael Elias, 44. The two citizens were owners of a liquor store. The incident took place on Saturday, March 28, 2015, in the city of Idlib in northern Syria.

Remarkably, the New York Times erroneously reported on Sunday that Jabhat al-Nusra had been responsible for the killings, and that Ahrar al-Sham had set up checkpoints to protect Christians in the newly “liberated” city:

Tensions are already evident in Idlib over the treatment of Christians, a bellwether issue. Two activists, who asked not to be identified out of fear for their safety, said that foreign fighters from Nusra had killed two Christians after hearing they worked in a liquor store.

They said that fighters from Ahrar al-Sham had rebuked the foreigners and set up checkpoints to protect Christians from them.

Abdullah Mohamad Al-Muhaisini, a Saudi Islamic law jurist traveling with the fighters, used Twitter to construct a complex argument against killing Christians who do not resist.

Not killing Christians is apparently a “complex” issue. But NYT reporter Anne Barnard took to Twitter yesterday to correct the record and clarify that Ahrar al-Sham was being fingered for the killings:

Reuters reported earlier today on an audio released by the head of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Muhammad al-Golani, promising to bring Islamic law to Idlib:

What makes the reported role of Ahrar al-Sham in these executions noteworthy is that the group has been the darling of the Washington D.C. foreign-policy think-tank community.

As I noted here at PJ Media a few weeks ago, in January 2014 former Bush and Obama administration officials took to the pages of Foreign Affairs, the magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations, to debate “The Good and Bad of Ahrar al-Sham,” contending that the U.S. needed to “befriend” the Syrian jihadist group as some kind of counter to more extreme jihadist groups, like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and deeming this jihadist group, “an Al Qaeda affiliate worth befriending”:

Ahrar al-Sham1Yet, Ahrar al-Sham joined forces with Jabhat al-Nusra in the taking of Idlib. As I previously noted, at the time they wrote this, one of Ahrar al-Sham’s top leaders was a lieutenant for al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri who openly declared himself a member of al-Qaeda. After most of their leadership was wiped out in a bombing in September, they gravitated closer to the jihadist groups they were supposed to counter and their positions have been bombed by the U.S. – much to the consternation of other “vetted moderate” rebel groups.

The jihadist takeover of the important city of Idlib gives additional evidence that the war encouraged by the Obama administration and the bipartisan DC think-tank cheerleaders is most likely far from over, compounding the misery of the Syrian people all around.

And while the execution of these two Christians is just a drop in the ocean of blood spilled in this conflict, that the crime was committed by the darlings of the DC think-tank community demonstrates that those who encouraged befriending “moderate Al-Qaeda” either: 1) have no earthly idea what they’re doing or whom they’re supporting, or; 2) have no reservations about supporting objective evil.

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Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Mob Attacks Family of Coptic Christian Martyr Beheaded by ISIS in Libya

Sunday, March 29th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

As the commemorative mass for the 21 Christians beheaded by ISIS in Libya was held on the 40th day after their deaths in the village of Al Our in the Minya region of Upper Egypt this past Friday, a mob identified by witnesses as Muslim Brotherhood protestors attacked the home of one of the martyr’s families, set fire to the car of one of the mourners, and later lobbed molotov cocktails at the site of the church being constructed in their memory. Al Our village was the home of 13 of the Egyptian Coptic martyrs.

Daily News Egypt reports:

On Friday, scores of mostly young Muslims gathered in the Minya governorate after midday prayer, demonstrating in front of a church under construction there. They chanted that there is no way the church would be built.

After a while, the crowd vanished, but later in the night a smaller number of anonymous militants attacked the church with Molotov cocktails. In the attack, seven people were injured, and one car was left burning.

In February, Copts in Minya’s Our Village called for a church to be established in the village honouring 20 Coptic Egyptian workers beheaded in Libya. They died at the hands of Islamic State militants in Libya, according to religious freedoms researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) Ishak Ibrahim.

Thirteen of the beheaded Coptic workers were from the village. Ibrahim told Daily News Egypt that, during their funeral, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi agreed for the church to be built.

Coptic residents bought land and started the church’s construction, sparking protests from Muslim residents who were angered by the church. The Muslim residents were unhappy at the church’s proposed presence and its position at the entrance to the village.

A report yesterday by Al-Masry Al-Youm (AR) stated that the mob attacked the home of one of the martyr’s families with bricks and stones, and that a car belonging to a mourner who had traveled to the village for the memorial mass was set on fire. The article cited witnesses identifying the mob participants as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that seven protesters had been arrested.

Following the murder of the 21 Christians by ISIS in Libya, senior government officials, including the prime minister, flocked to the village to give their condolences, and announced that that “the Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Country of al-’Our” would be built in their honor at state expense with the permission of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

And yet after this weekend’s attacks, the Coptic community in Al Our were forced by local authorities into an extra-judicial Islamic “reconciliation” meeting, where it was “agreed” that the church would be relocated, submitting to the violent protesters’ demands, and that the seven arrested protesters would be freed, prompting criticism on Twitter:

Minority communities complain that the “reconciliation” meetings in Egypt almost always result in minorities having to make concessions while Muslim offenders are freed without having to face any judicial proceedings, as appears true in the present case.

Non-Muslims also complain about the active discrimination built into the Egyptian constitution stemming from the Ottoman era that prohibits the construction of any new church building, or even the repair of existing buildings, without a presidential decree.

Islamist groups use this constitutional provision to instigate sectarian attacks, and continue to use it in several cases to prevent the rebuilding of churches burned down or damaged by the Muslim Brotherhood across the country in August 2013 after the government’s dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood protests in Cairo.

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This Week’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ Articles on Middle East, War on Terror

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Want to know what’s happened this week in the Middle East and the War on Terror? Here are some articles to keep you up to date:

Well, I couldn’t keep it to a dozen this week, so here’s a few more:

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Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Earlier this month I reported here at PJ Media that U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group Harakat al-Hazm had disbanded, and their U.S.-provided TOW anti-tank missiles had ended up in the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria.

Today a video posted on YouTube by al-Nusra shows their operatives using the U.S. TOW missiles to attack Syrian army positions in Idlib. They also posted a statement to that effect on Twitter:

Here’s the video, with a TOW missile making its appearance ~ 0:43:

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When I reported on the collapse of Hazm earlier in the month, I noted that pictures had appeared of al-Nusra fighters posing with U.S.-provided weapons, including the TOW missiles.

Some D.C. analysts claimed that the TOW tubes in the pictures were empty, but it is apparent now that al-Nusra did get their hands on live rounds and acquired personnel trained in firing the TOW system.

This, undoubtedly, is one reason why former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, once one of the loudest cheerleaders for arming the Syrian rebels, has done a complete turn-around and is now openly critical of the Syrian opposition:

Robert Ford was always one of the Syrian rebels’ loudest cheerleaders in Washington, agitating from within a reluctant administration to arm vetted moderates to fight Bashar Assad’s brutal regime.

In recent weeks, however, Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria who made news when he left government service a year ago with an angry critique of Obama administration policy, has dropped his call to provide weapons to the rebels. Instead, he’s become increasingly critical of them as disjointed and untrustworthy because they collaborate with jihadists.

The about-face, which is drawing murmurs among foreign policy analysts and Syrian opposition figures in Washington, is another sign that the so-called moderate rebel option is gone and the choices in Syria have narrowed to regime vs. extremists in a war that’s killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions.

Of course, some had argued, including myself, that this is where things were headed all along with the Obama administration’s policy of supporting, arming and training the so-called “vetted moderates.” And now Ford is admitting that the “vetted moderates” supported by the U.S. are collaborating with jihadist groups.

More smart diplomacy in action.

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Smart Diplomacy in Action: US Ambassador to Libya Abandons Twitter After Tweeting False Bombing Casualty Info

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah K. Jones retired from Twitter on Monday after tweeting out false information on civilian casualties of a bombing raid by military forces of the internationally recognized Libyan government:

Her tweet was picked up by Western media as the primary source for the information. See this Reuters article:

Eight civilians were killed in an air strike near Tripoli on Monday, the U.S. ambassador said, as Libya’s internationally recognized government pressed on with an assault to recapture the capital it abandoned to a rival faction last year …

“Terrible news today from Tarhouna where eight innocent displaced Tawergha killed in air strikes,” U.S. Ambassador Deborah Jones said in a tweet, referring to members of a minority group, thousands of whom were displaced after Gaddafi fell.

“This violence serves no one’s interests,” said Jones, who is based outside Libya since most diplomats were evacuated from Tripoli last year.

It turned out that the information was based on rumors and conflicting information from both sides:

The eastern chief of army staff said in a statement its planes had hit a Libya Dawn barracks, not a Tawergha camp, demanding an apology from Jones.

But Mohamed al-Tarhouni, spokesman of the town’s municipality, said nobody had been killed in the strike which he said had hit an empty farm near a camp of displaced Tawergha.

Jones and Louai El-Ghawi, an eastern lawmaker, said there were reports that several family members of a colonel opposed to Libya Dawn had been killed in Tarhouna in an apparent revenge attack, but details were unclear. The eastern chief of staff said Dawn supporters had killed eight members of the family.

A freelance reporter on the scene found nothing describing the info that Jones had tweeted out:

The Libyan Army condemned Jones’ statement:

Libyan Twitter users then began attacking the ambassador for floating false information:

The back-tracking then began in earnest:

But the damage had been done, and she announced her departure from Twitter:

Thus, America is even getting run off of Twitter.

Smart diplomacy in action. I blame that YouTube video.

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Top U.S. Islamic Cleric Dr. Salah Soltan Sentenced to Death in Egypt

Monday, March 16th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A man once hailed as “one of the most respected Islamic scholars in the country” was sentenced to death today in an Egyptian court after being found guilty on charges of inciting murder.

Dr. Salah Soltan, a senior member of the international Muslim Brotherhood, lived and worked in the U.S. for more than a decade.

He is still listed as a member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) on their organizational brochure.

Al-Ahram reports:

A Cairo criminal court sentenced Mohamed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide, and 13 other leading members of the group to death on Monday for inciting murder in the now infamous case known in the media as “Rabaa control room.”

The 14 convicted include Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan, former Kafr El-Sheikh governor Saad El-Hossainy and preacher Salah Sultan. The court has also set the date of 11 April to announce its verdict concerning other defendants in the case.

The court has referred the death sentences to Egypt’s Grand Mufti for revision. The referral of the sentences to the Mufti is the first step in the legal process required to enact a death sentence. The Mufti’s decision is not binding. However, following his decision the court will issue a final verdict. Once a final verdict is issued, defendants can appeal.

Badie and another 13 Brotherhood figures are convicted of setting up an operation after the violent dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya protest camp in mid-August in 2013 to direct the movements of Brotherhood supporters across the country as part of plans to defy the state and spread chaos, as well as plot attacks on police stations, private property and churches.

Soltan was arrested in September 2013 as he tried to flee to Sudan, and was charged with incitement to kill and attempted murder.

His son Mohamed, who has become a cause celebre for the American media and U.S. Islamic organizations, was also convicted in the current case and will be sentenced on April 11:

The story of Salah and Mohamed Soltan will not be unfamiliar to regular PJ Media readers.

Just last week, Mohamed Soltan was trying to paint himself in court as an innocent spectator swept up in the aftermath of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow. I noted here that multiple Western media reports at the time identified Mohamed as one of the top leaders organizing the violent Muslim Brotherhood protests in Cairo following Morsi’s removal from office.

Salah Soltan has also been the subject of several of my reports here at PJ Media going back to January 2009 when he appeared on Al-Nas TV threatening America with death and destruction for its support of Israel.

At the same time the elder Soltan was threatening America on Middle East TV, his son Mohamed was seen leading anti-Jewish genocidal chants in front of the Ohio Statehouse (as I reported here last week):

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Salah Soltan was also a leading figure at the Muslim Brotherhood protests dispersed by Egyptian authorities in August 2013, even appearing on stage at the protest standing beside an al-Qaeda flag:

Soltan beside AQ flag

Our late PJ Media colleague Barry Rubin noted here in August 2011 that Soltan had issued a fatwa in Egypt authorizing any Muslim to kill any Israeli that could be found in the country. He also took note of the media backlash I had received for reporting on Soltan’s extremist activities and open support for Islamic terrorism.

I followed up Barry’s report with my own observing everything I had written about Salah Soltan going back to my first report in April 2006. Despite all the attempts by the establishment media to paint him as an interfaith moderate, I chronicled a lengthy list of his activities:

  • Sultan leading a Hajj tour with al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki following the 9/11 attacks (after Awlaki had been allowed to leave the country);
  • His appearance at a July 2006 pro-Hamas rally in Turkey featuring leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the prime minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh;
  • Sultan’s attendance at a July 2007 conference in Doha, Qatar, where he shared the speaker dais with the head of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, and Yousef al-Qaradawi;
  • The cancellation of his TV program in Bahrain by the that government (whom he worked for at the time!);
  • The L.A. Times article that identified Salah Sultan by name as a “controversial Sunni figure”, among those “glorifying holy war” and “sharing the outlook of Al-Qaeda” causing trouble in Bahrain;
  • His interview with the official Muslim Brotherhood website following the November 2008 elections where he claimed that Jews assassinated President Kennedy and advocating Islamic theocracy in U.S. elections;
  • His December 2008 appearance on Egyptian Al-Nas TV (which I reported on here at PJM) warning of the imminent destruction of the U.S., invoking notorious Islamic hadith calling for the extermination of the Jews by Muslims, and citing approvingly the Protocols of the Elders of Zion;
  • His March 2010 interview on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, where he invoked the blood libel claiming that Jews make their Passover matzos with the blood of non-Jews;
  • His leading a crowd in cheering fires in Israel that had claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis in December 2010;
  • And following the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, in an article published on the Muslim Brotherhood website he lauded bin Laden as a warrior who “had raised the banner of jihad for the sake of Allah and had served a lofty goal,” and stating that U.S. “terrorism” was greater than bin Laden’s.

A year later, Salah Soltan was a senior member of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. As I reported here in August 2012, Soltan could be seen in his new role visiting with a number of U.S.-designated terrorists and Islamic extremists across the Middle East.

Those who have followed my reporting here and elsewhere on Salah and Mohamed Soltan know that my continued interest in their activities was not merely academic, as the pair were my former neighbors in my hometown of Hillard, Ohio.

The elder Soltan even served as religious director of our local mosque, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center.

That story was covered in the 2-part documentary by The Blaze titled The Project. My PJ Media colleague Andrew McCarthy and I were interviewed:

When Mohamed Soltan burned down their family home in Hilliard as part of a staged “Islamophobic” hate crime in January 2012, Soltan repeatedly cited in sworn testimony that my writings, that documentary, and Erick Stakelbeck’s October 2007 CBN News report on their presence here incited the arson. Here’s that 2007 CBN News report:

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And yet court documents in a later civil case indicate that investigators fingered the younger Soltan for the crime, and he fled the U.S. for Egypt in February 2013 as investigators were looking to question him further on his role in the fire.

Now, nearly a decade into this saga, I expect that no apologies will be forthcoming from the various media outlets and local figures who publicly attacked me for reporting on this, including our local newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch.

The establishment media needs to be more forthcoming in reporting on extremism inside the Muslim community. Salah Soltan, now sentenced to death for his crimes, was not some marginal figure in the American Muslim community, but one of its leaders. And those organizations that continued to support him in the face of the mountain of evidence compiled over the years should be subject to some hard questions. But I’m not holding my breath.

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Foreign Policy Elite MEME OF THE WEEK: Accept ‘Moderate’ Al-Qaeda

Friday, March 13th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

As I’ve said here at PJ Media repeatedly, there are some ideas so profoundly stupid that they can only be taken seriously inside the political-media-academic bubble that stretches along the Washington, D.C.-New York-Boston corridor. These typically populate my annual year-end “National Security ‘Not Top 10′” review.

Such is the case with this week’s foreign policy “smart set” MEME OF THE WEEK: we need to accept “moderate” al-Qaeda in order to defeat “hardline” ISIS.

Understand, this is a continuation of a popular theme amongst the foreign policy “smart set.” See the “moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” which just a month ago declared all-out jihad on the Egyptian government. Or the New York Times, pitching “moderate” elements of the Iranian regime. Or current CIA director “Jihad” John Brennan calling for the U.S. to build up Hezbollah “moderates.” Or hapless academics proclaiming the “mellowing” of Hamas. Or the so-called “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel groups that, as I have reported here, regularly fight alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda and have even defected to those terror groups.

So why are the foreign policy elites now having to talk about engaging “moderate” al-Qaeda, of all things?

Because all of those previous “moderate” engagement efforts have ended in disaster. But rather than abandon the whole “moderate” theme, the foreign policy community seems intent to double-down on failure by continuing to move the “moderate” line.

First out of the gate this week was an article in Foreign Affairs by Harvard’s Barak Mendelsohn, “Accepting Al-Qaeda: The Enemy of the United States’ Enemy,” that argues:

Since 9/11, Washington has considered al-Qaeda the greatest threat to the United States, one that must be eliminated regardless of cost or time. After Washington killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, it made Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s new leader, its next number one target. But the instability in the Middle East following the Arab revolutions and the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) require that Washington rethink its policy toward al-Qaeda, particularly its targeting of Zawahiri. Destabilizing al-Qaeda at this time may in fact work against U.S. efforts to defeat ISIS.

Here’s how Foreign Affairs, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, billed this conventional wisdom:

There are several problems with Mendelsohn’s thesis. One problem that he barely acknowledges is that al-Qaeda is still a declared enemy and an active threat to the United States. They have said repeatedly that they intend to kill U.S. citizens and have continued to plot to do so. The enemy of my enemy can still also be my enemy.

A second pragmatic problem with trying to use Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, as a tool against ISIS is that the relationship between the two groups is constantly evolving. Not long ago, ISIS and Nusra were comrades-in-arms. Despite their present falling-out, within recent months they still occasionally worked together: in August they joined forces to attack Lebanese border checkpoints; in September they were engaged in joint operations around Qalamoun. And Nusra appears more interested in wiping out the U.S.-backed “vetted moderate” groups and fighting the Assad regime than going head-to-head with ISIS.

Thus, it is considerably more likely that ISIS and al-Qaeda will engage in some form of reconciliation than al-Qaeda falling into the U.S. foreign policy orbit and serving as an anti-ISIS proxy in Syria.

So what drives the folly of the foreign policy “smart set”? Mostly it is the hubris that only they comprehend the vast and constantly changing complexity of international affairs, but also it is their added belief that their pals in the administration can harness this “smart set” omniscience to manipulate global events to a predicted end.

That rarely, if ever, happens. Just witness the Obama administration’s foreign policy disaster in Syria.

Mendelsohn has not been alone this week in calling for greater “acceptance” of al-Qaeda. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published Yaroslav Trofimov’s “Al-Qaeda a lesser evil? Syria war pulls U.S., Israel apart,” where he makes the following case:

MOUNT BENTAL, Golan Heights — This mountaintop on the edge of the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights offers a unique vantage point into how the complexities of the Syrian war raging in the plains below are increasingly straining Israel’s ties with the U.S.

To the south of this overlook, from which United Nations and Israeli officers observe the fighting, are the positions of the Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda that the U.S. has targeted with airstrikes.

Nusra Front, however, hasn’t bothered Israel since seizing the border area last summer — and some of its severely wounded fighters are regularly taken across the frontier fence to receive treatment in Israeli hospitals.

To the north of Mount Bental are the positions of the Syrian government forces and the pro-Iranian Shiite militias such as Hezbollah, along with Iranian advisers. Iran and these militias are indirectly allied with Washington in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq. But here in the Golan, they have been the target of a recent Israeli airstrike. Israel in recent months also shot down a Syrian warplane and attacked weapons convoys heading through Syria to Hezbollah.

It would be a stretch to say that the U.S. and Israel are backing different sides in this war. But there is clearly a growing divergence in U.S. and Israeli approaches over who represents the biggest danger — and who should be seen, if not as an ally, at least as a lesser evil in the regional crisis sparked by the dual implosion of Syria and Iraq.

Trofimov’s argument boils down to: “Accept al-Qaeda! See, the Israelis are doing it!!!”

Needless to say, Trofimov’s article quickly received praise from the foreign policy “smart set,” including the Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl and The Century Foundation’s Michael Hanna:

A couple thoughts on this. First, some have treated the report of Israelis helping injured Nusra fighters in the Golan as some breaking game-changing news, but in fact Vice News reported on this back in December.

Secondly, I reported from the Golan here at PJ Media back in September 2013, and I even stood on Mount Bental and looked over the ruins of Quneitra while fighting raged across the border. And yet, that perspective didn’t help me magically see al-Qaeda as some lesser evil that we needed to engage or accept.

Thirdly, and I know this will strike some as heresy, the Israelis are not infallible and have seen this approach literally blow up on them. Take, for instance, the January 2009 Wall Street Journal article, “How Israel helped spawn Hamas“:

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric. [...]

When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.

“When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.”

“Nobody thought about the possible results.” Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around.

I should note that this is not the first time that the foreign policy “smart set” has taken a run at the “engaging moderate al-Qaeda” meme. In January 2014, Foreign Affairs published an article titled “The Good and Bad of Ahrar al-Sham” which contended that the U.S. needed to “befriend” the Syrian jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham as some kind of counter to more extreme jihadist groups, like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. The precedent they cited was the U.S. failure to designate the Taliban (!!!) after 9/11.

Mind you, at the time they wrote this one of Ahrar al-Sham’s top leaders was a lieutenant for al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri who openly declared himself a member of al-Qaeda. After most of their leadership was wiped out in a bombing in September, they gravitated closer to the jihadist groups they were supposed to counter and their positions have been bombed by the U.S. – much to the consternation of other “vetted moderate” rebel groups.

The article was originally subtitled “An al-Qaeda affiliate worth befriending”:

Ahrar al-Sham1But after the article authors took some flack on Twitter for their much-too-obvious “an al Qaeda affiliate,” the subtitle was quickly changed to “an al Qaeda-linked group worth befriending” on the Foreign Affairs website:

Ahrar al-Sham2This seems to give evidence that the foreign policy elite know exactly what they’re doing when making these arguments. For fear of the unwashed masses catching on to the dangerous game they’re playing, they’ll quickly try to walk things back to keep the appearance of being nuanced, smart, and sensible as they talk amongst themselves about befriending terrorist organizations.

Another telling sign is that when this article appeared there was ZERO blowback from the foreign policy “smart set.” Much like the articles from Mendelsohn and Trofimov this week, they received widespread praise and acclaim from their peers.

I mentioned earlier the hubris that drives much of this thinking. But an added element of this phenomenon is the obliteration in our political, media, and academic elite of any distinction between good and evil.

Such distinctions are perceived as archaic and naive, while suggesting “befriending” terrorists is nuanced and realist. And yet the 20th century is littered with examples of these two factors (elite hubris, no distinction between good and evil) working in concert to horrific effect.

Recent history has examples as well, such as when the Obama administration decided to engage “moderate” al-Qaeda leaders in Libya, including LIFG head Abdelhakim Belhadj (whom the CIA had renditioned back to Libya in 2004) to overthrow Gaddafi at the behest of the warhawk trio of Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. How well has that worked out and how many lives has it cost?

We see it again now in the administration’s support of Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq fighting to push back ISIS, who are regularly engaged in war crimes and religious cleansing no different than ISIS itself. Will there be any good coming from the the U.S. acting as Iran’s air force in their ongoing takeover of Iraq?

Probably no more than what will come from following the foreign policy elite’s MEME OF THE WEEK, accepting “moderate” al-Qaeda.

UPDATE: FBI Director James Comey told Congress this week that Al-Qaeda, which we are supposed to now “accept” according to the foreign policy elite, is still a threat to the U.S.:

Al Qaeda and its affiliates—especially al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)—continue to represent a top terrorist threat to the nation and our interests overseas. AQAP’s online English magazine advocates for lone wolves to conduct attacks against the U.S. homeland and Western targets. The magazine regularly encourages homegrown violent extremists to carry out small arms attacks and provides detailed “how-to” instructions for constructing and deploying a successful improvised explosive device.

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The Lies Behind #FreeSoltan: No, Mohamed Soltan Is NOT a ‘Humanitarian Activist’

Monday, March 9th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Egyptian-American Mohamed Soltan is currently on trial in Egypt for his role in organizing and directing the violent Muslim Brotherhood protests in 2013. The protests wracked Egypt following the massive June 30 protests that led to the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.

Soltan is the oldest son of senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Salah Soltan, also in prison in Egypt on charges of inciting violence.

He is charged with being part of the operations cell that ran the main Muslim Brotherhood protest at the Raba’a Al Adeyawa mosque in Cairo. His cause has been touted by major U.S. media outlets, including the New York Times, as well as by prominent U.S. Islamic organizations. It was also highlighted on Twitter with the #FreeSoltan hashtag:

From his statements recorded before the court earlier today, it seems he is no longer interested in being a Muslim Brotherhood revolutionary activist. He now wants to recast himself as an innocent “humanitarian activist” who was innocently caught up in the events of August 2013.

This is an abrupt about-face and a thoroughly fictitious re-writing of history. He actively craved international media attention for his activities at the Rabaa protest.

Supporters of Soltan attending the trial hearing today and his relatives and supporters back home tweeted out his claims that he has no political affiliation, and his claim now that he is just a “humanitarian activist”:

The “humanitarian activist” claim is something that has been pushed out in recent months by the #FreeSoltan Twitter account set up to promote his cause:

His claim to be an innocent bystander to the events at the Rabaa protest is exposed by the very media reports he cultivated. For example, the following account from The Australian dated August 1, 2013, opens with Soltan in firm control of the Rabaa operations war room and giving direction to subordinates:

Just after 9pm on Tuesday (5am yesterday AEST), the tacticians of the Muslim Brotherhood went into a small room off the Rabaa al-Adawia mosque in Nasr City, an outer suburb of Cairo, to decide the night’s battle plan.

They had declared there would be “a million person march”, so expectations were high.

In this undeclared war with Egypt’s army, tactics are kept a secret until the last moment. At 9.15pm, Mohamed Soltan, one of the communications team of “The Anti-Coup Movement” based at the mosque, walked back into the room.

“Ten o’clock at military intelligence,” he said. “We’ve already got a demonstration going to the presidential palace, but another one will be going to the military intelligence building.”

From this mosque the Muslim Brotherhood is running its campaign to reinstate Mohammed Morsi, who was sacked from the presidency by the army on July 3.

Tonight we’re in the communications room which is bustling with media, Muslim Brotherhood officials and teams of young men and women who look like they’re running an election campaign.

Requests by foreign journalists are given top priority – reflecting an instruction from Brotherhood officials to get their “anti-coup message” out to the world.

That hardly seems like a passive “humanitarian activist” observer.

An interview he gave to ABC News just a few weeks later — after Egyptian authorities had broken up the protest — gives more first-hand evidence:

An Egyptian-American, Soltan, 25, joined the Anti-Coup Alliance after former president Mohamed Morsi was ousted. Soltan became one of the main liaisons between the Muslim Brotherhood, the Anti-Coup Alliance and foreign press and ABC News saw him in action during a visit to Raba’a Al Adeyawa two weeks ago. His iPhone 5 always in hand, he moved seamlessly between meetings with former Brotherhood ministers to strategy sessions with the Anti-Coup social media team.

It was a bit odd, then, when CNN’s Christiane Amanpour described Soltan’s plight as “the crime of acting your age.” These were media reports that Soltan himself developed and his supporters used to promote his cause, and now they stand as a witness to the #FreeSoltan lies.

And just what about his supposed “humanitarian” activities?

As I reported at the time of his arrest, when several of Soltan’s friends were caught and arrested with torture victims at the Rabaa protest, he admitted to Mada Masr (cited as “a son of a leading Muslim Brotherhood figure”) that the torture (amputations, electrocutions, etc.) was going on at the protest that he organized and directed, but that the torture wasn’t officially sanctioned, and in fact his friends were merely “helping” the torture victims they were caught with.

Yeah.

We can also present this exclusive cell phone video of “humanitarian activist” Mohamed Soltan leading an anti-Israel protest at the Ohio Statehouse on January 2, 2009. Dressed in a red hoodie with a megaphone tucked underneath his arm, he led the crowd in the genocidal and anti-Jewish “Khaybar” chant (beginning ~0:20):

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Here’s a picture of him at that protest looking much as he did at the Rabaa protest — on the phone and choreographing the activity:

1-2-09 Statehouse demo 013a

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) explains the genocidal nature of the “Khaybar” chant that Soltan was leading:

A report on Al Jazeera in Ara­bic yes­ter­day described “Khaiber” as “the most impor­tant fea­ture of the Islamic-Jewish fight. Mus­lims always raise its name in their ral­lies against Israel because it con­sti­tutes a mem­ory of a harsh defeat for the Jews who lived in the Ara­bian Penin­sula dur­ing the time of prophet.”

The story of “Khaiber,” accord­ing to most Islamic sources, ends with the exe­cu­tion of thou­sands of Jews, includ­ing women and chil­dren. Pro­test­ers at anti-Israel ral­lies around the world, includ­ing the U.S., often evoke this bat­tle in their chants to gal­va­nize supporters.

There’s additional video one year later of the “humanitarian” activism that Soltan engaged in with George Galloway’s “Viva Palestina Hamas” support convoys. The U.S. designated Hamas a terrorist organization in 1995. Soltan hosted fundraisers for Viva Palestina – in Columbus, Ohio – after Galloway had appeared live on Al-Jazeera TV giving duffel bags full of cash to U.S.-designated Hamas terror leader Ahmed Kurd on a previous Viva Palestina convoy.

He has also praised as “freedom fighters” Hamas terrorist leaders, such as Khaled Mashal (seen here), and the “Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) school that breeds” them on Facebook and Twitter (screencap, now since removed, thanks to CausingFitna):

mohammed-sultan-freedom-fighter-hamas-khaled-mashal

At ~10:37 in this Iranian regime PressTV video documenting the travels of the Dec. 2009-Jan 2010 Viva Palestina Hamas support convoy, and their clashes with Egyptian police during which one Egyptian police officer was killed, you can see the interview they had with Soltan:

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The Egyptian government, not the Egyptian people, because the Egyptian government is not allowing us because they are a puppet for the American and the Israeli regime. We need to be there. We should have been on the border of Rafah and entering Gaza today to be with the people of Gaza to tell them that we came from half way across the world to be with you on the anniversary of a holocaust, the second holocaust. And that’s what we try to do, but instead we’re here standing in Aqaba in front of the consulate asking God that he open the borders for us and help us get through Gaza so we can be there with our brothers in solidarity with our brothers in Gaza.

Interestingly, Soltan now pleads for the “American regime” to help free him from an Egyptian jail. But such is the hypocrisy of “humanitarian activist” Mohamed Soltan and the lies behind the #FreeSoltan campaign.

Soltan is bold about his self-promotion when he is talking to the international media, but as we saw today when he was brought to account before the Egyptian court, he tries to distance himself from his own actions. Now he tries to rewrite his own history to save his skin.

If he is spared additional jail time by the Egyptian court, it will most likely be due to the “American regime” he is so quick to denounce overseas before the cameras owned by an Iranian regime, among the most repressive in the world.

———————–

By the way: Soltan burned down his own house in a faked “Islamophobia” hate crime.

According to court documents, he directly blamed me for inciting the “arson,” only to flee the U.S. as investigators began to question his role in the fire. Alas, I’ll leave that for a my next installment of the “Lies of #FreeSoltan.”

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U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands. Unexpectedly.

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Reports this week revealed that a U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group, Harakat al-Hazm, had officially dissolved itself under pressure from Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, and many of the fighters have joined up with the jihadist Islamic Front. With the group’s dissolution, the U.S.-provided TOW anti-tank missiles have reportedly falled into the hands of al-Nusra.

Hazm was the first U.S.-backed group to receive TOW missiles, the Washington Post reported last April – and at the time the Washington D.C. foreign policy establishment hailed Hazm as “rebels worth supporting.”

But now with the demise of Hazm it seems the fantasy of backing “vetted moderate” groups in Syria is effectively at an end.

Word of Hazm’s demise began early this week:

And word began spreading of Hazm fighters joining up with other more hardline groups:

And now comes evidence that the U.S.-supplied weapons given to Hazm are now in Al-Qaeda hands:

And one astute observation:

As I reported throughout the past year here at PJ Media, the U.S. reliance on the so-called “vetted moderate” groups was doomed to failure for no greater reason than that these groups were never moderate to begin with. Back in July I was reporting that U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) units were defecting to ISIS.

By early September I reported that even more FSA units were operating openly with ISIS and al-Nusra, and two Hazm fighters were telling the L.A. Times that they fight alongside al-Nusra and approve of the group. A day later a FSA commander publicly admitted that his forces were fighting with ISIS and al-Nusra – both designated terrorist organizations — along the Syria/Lebanon border, confirming my earlier reporting.

As Congress approved an Obama administration request in mid-September for an additional $500 million in support for the “vetted moderate” rebel groups and the U.S. began bombing ISIS positions in northern Syria, Hazm issued a statement condemning the U.S. bombing campaign, calling it “an attack on the revolution.”

By mid-October, Obama officials were publicly throwing the “vetted moderate” rebel groups under the bus, saying they were going to instead train an entirely new force to confront ISIS. This happened just a few weeks after Obama persuaded the GOP leadership to buy into his failing Syria policy.

In early November reports began to emerge of Hazm, FSA and Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF — another U.S.-backed group) units surrendering and defecting to al-Nusra. Those surrenders and defections continued up until now.

Then in December I reported on al-Nusra deploying U.S.-provided TOW missiles that had been previously supplied to the “vetted moderate” groups. By the end of the year, even the New York Times was reporting that the FSA was under effective control of Al-Qaeda.

And yet despite these developments some — namely Senator John McCain and his crew — continued to back the FSA:

While some will complain that the complete collapse of the three-year Obama Syria strategy was because we didn’t support the “vetted moderate” rebel groups… ENOUGH…

…the simple fact is that any fool with a pair of eyes and not blinded by the foreign policy establishment’s narrative could see this result coming. In fact, a few of us, myself included, warned of this end game going back to when the conflict in Syria began in 2011. And here we are.

With the Middle East in tatters in the wake of Obama’s “Arab Spring,” it is past time for the D.C. foreign policy establishment to admit to total failure. The evidence of this bipartisan policy disaster is written across the map.

As Instapundit is wont to say, this has all happened rather… unexpectedly.

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Why Was ISIS Terror Operative Nihad Rosic Arrested in Plainfield, Indiana?

Monday, March 2nd, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Six individuals of Bosnian origin from St. Louis; Rockford, Illinois; and Utica, New York, were indicted last month on charges of supplying money and equipment to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

And yet late last week it was revealed that one of those terror suspects, Nihad Rosic, who is also one of two suspects additionally charged with conspiring to kill and maim others in a foreign country and had attempted to board a plane back in July 2014 to fly to Syria to join ISIS, had actually been apprehended in the small town of Plainfield, Indiana, right outside Indianapolis.

As the Indianapolis Star reported on Friday:

A Bosnian national indicted on charges of funneling resources to terrorists overseas was arrested earlier this month in Plainfield, officials confirmed Friday, but it was unclear why the man was in Indiana.

U.S. marshals booked Nihad Rosic, 26, in the Marion County Jail on Feb. 6, jail records show, though his connections to the state appear to be minimal.

A federal indictment alleges that Rosic and five others communicated on social media with coded language to organize financial support and send equipment to terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq.

Jan Diltz, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, where the indictment was handed up, said she doesn’t know why Rosic was in Indiana.

While at first glance it may seem odd that Plainfield, Indiana, might be a haunt for an international terror operative for perhaps the most dangerous Islamic terrorist group in the world today, it perhaps might be more clear when considering that Plainfield is the headquarters the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), one of the most terror-tied Islamic organizations in American history.

As one former federal law enforcement official told me this weekend, if Rosic was not in Plainfield related to ISNA it would be an “extreme coincidence bordering on the unbelievable.”

ISNA’s ties to terrorism go back even before its founding in the early 1980s when the organization was operating in the Indianapolis area as an amalgam of Muslim Brotherhood front organizations, including the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Islamic Teaching Center (ITC) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA). I’ve previously reported on the MSA’s extensive terrorist lineup here at PJ Media.

Two of the visitors to the area in those early days included Al-Qaeda founder Abdullah Azzam and his protege, Osama bin Laden.

According to a book published by Bin Laden’s first wife, Najwa, the Al-Qaeda leaders and the Bin Laden family visited the U.S. for two weeks in 1979 with stops in Los Angeles, and yes, Indianapolis. A clue why Bin Laden and Azzam might have been in the area might be an ITC newsletter dated February 1978 I uncovered that documents a previous visit to their Indianapolis offices in January of that year by Azzam and several other well-known extremist Islamic clerics. ITC now operates as a subsidiary of ISNA.

From its earliest days ISNA was a hub for international Islamic terrorists. Terrorist figures associated with ISNA include:

  • Al-Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi, who started ISNA’s political action committee in November 1988 and who was convicted in 2004 for his role in an international assassination plot targeting then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. In 2005, the U.S. Treasury Department admitted that Alamoudi had operated as one of the top Al-Qaeda fundraisers in North America.
  • Senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian, one of ISNA’s self-admitted founders, was convicted in 2006 for his role in supporting the terrorist organization and was deported from the U.S. last month. Prior to his indictment, Al-Arian was deeply involved in numerous ISNA activities and organizations, and was a regular speaker at the ISNA annual conferences.
  • Pakistani intelligence agent Ghulam Nabi Fai, who not only worked for ISNA but also served for years on ISNA’s shura council, was convicted in 2012 for failing to disclose nearly $4 million he had received from the Pakistani ISI intelligence service to influence members of Congress on behalf of the Muslim separatist cause in Kashmir (I reported on Fai’s operation in a two-part series here at PJ Media, noting that Fai spoke at ISNA’s annual convention two weeks before his arrest). Fai’s co-conspirator, Zaheer Ahmad, reportedly met with both Bin Laden and Zawahiri just weeks before 9/11 to discuss their weapons of mass destruction program. As reported in an in-depth ProPublica expose of Fai’s activites, not only was Fai working for Pakistani intelligence at the same time he was working for ISNA, but key ISNA figures and affiliates helped start his Kashmir American Center.
  • As I reported exclusively here at PJ Media in September 2012, one speaker featured at ISNA’s 2001 annual conference held just days prior to the 9/11 attacks was Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen in September 2011. For years Awlaki’s ISNA speech had been cited, but we were the first to actual provide the video to the Al-Qaeda operative’s ISNA conference talk.
  • One other senior terror leader with deep ties to ISNA is current Hamas deputy head Mousa Abu-Marzook. I’ll elaborate on the ISNA/Hamas ties below, but will note here that when Marzook was arrested in the U.S. in 1995 and designated a global terrorist by the Clinton administration, and was later deported in 1997, Marzook took out an advertisement in the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs thanking his supporters, including ISNA:

isna-marzook web

In October 2014, Mohammed Hamzah Khan was arrested trying to board a flight to travel to Turkey to join ISIS. According to postings on Khan’s Instagram account, he had attended ISNA’s annual convention held in Detroit less than a month before.

But ISNA’s role in the international Islamic terror network isn’t just associational. Rather, it has taken a much direct role in supporting international terrorism.

According to forms filed with the IRS, ISNA provided $170,000 in start-up funds for the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA), which was designated a global terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury in October 2004 for supporting Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, and other Islamic terrorist organizations. Exhibits entered into trial evidence in court by federal prosecutors showed extensive payments from ISNA to IARA over the years in increments of tens of thousands of dollars. According to the Justice Department, IARA sent at least $130,000 to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Another ISNA-supported Islamic terror charity was the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA). As reported by Thomas Jocelyn at the Weekly Standard, German investigators found transactions between ISNA and TWRA in 1992 at the same time that TWRA was financing the U.S.-based terror cell that conducted the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned “Day of Terror” attacks targeting New York City landmarks.

Despite evidence of ISNA’s support of a long list of Islamic charities tagged by the U.S. government and the United Nations as terrorist organizations, ISNA’s most notorious role in supporting international terrorism came up in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history in the successful prosecution of the executives of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) for supporting Hamas.

Not only did HLF receive ISNA’s longtime support, but it began as the Occupied Land Fund as an arm of ISNA operated out of the group’s Plainfield headquarters.

ISNA was named unindicted co-conspirator in the case, and extensive documentation entered into trial evidence by federal prosecutors (available on the Texas federal court’s website) shows that even after HLF was spun off of ISNA, the money transferred by the HLF to Hamas actually was moved by ISNA and the ISNA-affiliated North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and payments made directly by ISNA to Hamas officials, including Mousa Abu-Marzook.

So intertwined was ISNA in conspiracy by the international Muslim Brotherhood to finance Hamas, in one court filing federal prosecutors lay out ISNA’s role in providing “media, money and men” to Hamas (page 13 in the file):

DOJ-ISNA-NAITsmThe federal judge in the case, Jorge Solis, agreed with the prosecutors about ISNA’s role, stating in a ruling that was later unsealed that there was “ample evidence” that ISNA and other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups had supported Hamas.

ISNA’s terror support was even profiled by Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR in a 2003 two-part series entitled “Images in Conflict“:

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But if it is the case that ISIS operative Nihad Rosic was in Plainfield meeting with ISNA officials it is highly unlikely that the Justice Department would ever admit to it since ISNA has been the closest Islamic group to the Obama White House.

That’s right, despite what federal prosecutors have said in federal court about ISNA’s role in supporting international terrorism, its ties to convicted terror leaders and supporting designated global terrorist organizations, and even Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez under the Bush administration cancelling meetings because of the presence of ISNA officials, as I noted here at PJ Media in the early days of this administration, ISNA has been openly embraced by the Obama White House.

In 2013, Obama even provided a video greeting to open ISNA’s annual convention:

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So what is the connection between Nihad Rosic and ISNA, and why exactly was he arrested in Plainfield, Indiana? Most likely federal authorities will never say, but an educated guess about the possible involvement of ISNA given their lengthy track record on these types of activities is hardly out-of-order.

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Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Thursday, February 26th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A man seen in multiple ISIS propaganda videos speaking with a British accent and beheading Western hostages had his identity revealed in the Washington Post this morning, and yet again the suspect is another case of what I have termed “known wolf” syndrome since he was already known to authorities before engaging in acts of terrorism.

The Washington Post reports:

The world knows him as “Jihadi John,” the masked man with a British accent who has beheaded several hostages held by the Islamic State and who taunts audiences in videos circulated widely online.

But his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the Islamic State, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolize.

But the article goes on to reveal that Emwazi had been detained by authorities not once, but twice:

Emwazi and two friends — a German convert to Islam named Omar and another man, Abu Talib — never made it on the trip. Once they landed in Dar es Salaam, in May 2009, they were detained by police and held overnight. It’s unclear whether the reason for the detention was made clear to the three, but they were eventually deported.

Emwazi flew to Amsterdam, where he claimed that an officer from MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency, accused him of trying to reach Somalia, where the militant group al-Shabab operates in the southern part of the country, according to e-mails that he sent to Qureshi and that were provided to The Post.

Emwazi denied the accusation and claimed that MI5 representatives had tried to recruit him [...]

In June 2010, however, counterterrorism officials in Britain detained him again — this time fingerprinting him and searching his belongings. When he tried to fly back to Kuwait the next day, he was prevented from doing so.

The Daily Mail adds that after that June 2010 encounter with law enforcement, Emwazi was put on the UK terror watch list:

They allegedly fingerprinted him and searched his belongings, and he was not allowed to fly back to Kuwait. Emwazi was put on a terror watch list and banned from leaving the UK.

The BBC added that Emwazi was part of a known network of jihadist sympathizers:

We don’t know when the British or the American security services worked out that the masked man in the killing videos was Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.

But we do know that he was a “person of interest” to MI5 going back to at least 2011 because he features in semi-secret court cases relating to extremism overseas and back in the UK.

Nobody in official security circles is going to comment on what they know and why they know it.

Emwazi has been previously described as a member of a network involving at least 13 men from London – and at least two of them were subjected to house arrest control orders or T-Pims. One absconded. The chances of Emwazi ever returning to the UK are vanishingly small.

So yet again, as we’ve seen in practically every recent terrorism case, the suspect was already known to authorities.

I’ve reported here at PJ Media on the long line of “Known Wolf” terror suspects who committed acts of terror:

  • Earlier this month I reported that the Copenhagen shooter was Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, who had been convicted in a stabbing in December, and yet remarkably released by authorities despite being branded as “extremely dangerous.”
  • Also this month I noted that Moussa Coulibaly, who stabbed three police officers outside a synagogue in Nice, France, had just days before been deported from Turkey for attempting to join ISIS.
  • The two Kouachi brothers behind the massacre on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices last month in Paris had been long known to law enforcement, with one of them already having been in prison on terror-related charges, and yet they had been removed from the radar by authorities just last summer because they were deemed no longer a threat. They were also on the no-fly lists of both the U.S. and the UK.
  • Man Haron Monis, aka Sheikh Haron, who in December took hostages at a chocolate shop in the heart of the commercial district in downtown Sydney, Australia, was not only known to law enforcement, but was out on bond on two separate cases and had previously been convicted of harassing the widows of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Authorities had been tipped off via their hotline to extremist statements Haron had been making on his website 48 hours before the attack.
  • I first noticed this “Known Wolf” trend back in October after two separate attacks in Canada by Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, both of whom reportedly had their passports stripped by Canadian authorities because they were deemed “high risk” to travel overseas to join ISIS.

Yesterday, an interview I had with Erick Stakelbeck aired where I discussed the “Known Wolf” terror phenomenon (the first 11 minutes of the program):

Needless to say, if the currently growing track record of Western authorities missing these “known wolf” suspects is any indication, the next terror case will undoubtedly be a subject already known to law enforcement and intelligence authorities, but sufficient action not taken to stop their terrorism.

 

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BREAKING: Islamic State Attacks Assyrian Christian Villages in Northern Syria, Taking Captives and Torching Churches

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Breaking news late yesterday and this morning bring reports of an assault by the Islamic State in Northern Syria targeting Assyrian Christian villages along the Khabour River that began early yesterday morning. Other reports indicate that ISIS has taken captives and torched several churches, including one of the most ancient churches in Syria, and hundreds are fleeing the area downriver to Hassake. ISIS is meeting resistance from Christian and Kurdish militias.

European Syriac Union rights activist and journalist David Vergili reports:

Assyrian Christian villages along the Khabour river in the Hassake region are under heavy attacks of ISIS. Hundred of people left the region and number of women and children have been kidnapped by ISIS. Clashes continue between MFS, YPG against ISIS.

On Monday around 5am ISIS carried out an attack on the Assyrian villages in the Khabour region leaving casualties and another exodus of Christians from the region. ISIS attacks are concentrated in the Khabour villages of Til Hirmis, Til Shamiram, Qabre Shamiye and Til Khebish. Local sources confirm that there are ongoing clashes in all front lines against ISIS. Various reports suggest casualties of civilians and burning of churches.

A Demand For Action, another Christian rights organization, published this map to show the area of activity:

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The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) reported late last night of captives taken and churches torched by ISIS (Warning: graphic images at link):

ISIS has abducted dozens of Assyrian men, women and children, including 12 from Tel Hurmiz, 15 from Tel Goran. They have been brought to Jabal Abdul Aziz. The residents of the villages of Tel Shamiran (approximately 50) and Tel Jazira (about 40) are being held captive in their own villages by ISIS.

According to a report by Newsweek, ISIS will use the Assyrian hostages for a prisoner swap with Kurdish fighters.

A number of churches have been destroyed, including the church in Tel Hurmiz, one of the oldest churches in Syria, the Mar Bisho church in Tel Shamiran, the church in Qabr Shamiy and the church in Tel Baloua.

The Newsweek report referenced above cited threats made against the lives of the captured Christian villagers if a prisoner exchange doesn’t happen:

The terrorist organization demanded a prisoner exchange with Kurdish fighters; they are seeking the release of ISIS members in exchange for the villagers. The exact number of prisoners ISIS is looking to swap for is not known. They have threatened the lives of the village men, estimated to be more than 100, if the swap does not go through.

A Reuters report published this morning provides a report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that ISIS has taken at least 90 captives and notes the strategic importance of the area for Kurdish and Christian militias, as well as for ISIS:

Syrian Kurdish militia have renewed their assault on the militants, launching two offensives against them in northeast Syria on Sunday, helped from U.S.-led air strikes and Iraqi peshmerga who have been shelling Islamic State-held territory from their side of the nearby border.

This part of Syria is strategically important in the fight against Islamic State because it borders territory controlled by the group in Iraq, where last year the ultra-hardline group committed atrocities against the Yazidi community.

Tel Tamr, a town near the Assyrian Christian villages where the abductions occurred, has witnessed heavy clashes between Islamic State fighters and the Kurdish YPG militia, the Observatory said.

Here are some related tweets with information on refugees and the militia response to the ISIS attack. Follow David Vergili and A Demand For Action on Twitter for updates.

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Oslo Synagogue ‘Muslim Peace Ring’ Organizer: Jews Were Behind 9/11, Mumbai Terror Attack

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

On Saturday, I expressed serious skepticism here at PJ Media about the “Muslim Peace Ring” that surrounded an Oslo synagogue over the weekend. Here’s what I observed:

Now I’m not going to get into the motives of those involved today, but color me skeptical of these types of events for several reasons.

First, if you contact the international media to cover your event, forgive me if I question your sincerity. Your staged “Ring of Peace” photo op is really a “Ring of Propaganda.” Matthew 6:1-4 and all that.

Secondly, when you use actual victims (Jews) to try to make yourselves (Muslims) the victims by leading your chants with “No to anti-Semitism,” and then smuggling in your own “Islamophobia” narrative, I’m calling BS…

Thirdly, these Muslim “human chain” photo ops are never around when you actually need them.

I gave the example of the “Muslim human ring” around the Mar Girgis Church in Sohag, Egypt story that was circulated in July 2013, only to have the same church torched by the Muslim Brotherhood the very next month.

But now it seems the media narrative on the Oslo “Muslim Peace Ring” couldn’t even last 24 hours.

As Haaretz reports, one of the event organizers had accused Jews (remember, this human chain was around a synagogue) of being behind the 9/11 attack:

Ali Chishti confirmed on Saturday in an interview with Verdens Gang, a highbrow Norwegian newspaper, that he delivered on March 22, 2008, in Oslo a speech on the alleged involvement of Jews in planning the 9/11 Twin Towers bombings in New York. The speech’s title was: ”Therefore I Hate Jews and Gays,” the paper reported, though Chishti said he was not the one who came up with the title.

“There were several thousand Jews away from work in the World Trade Center, and why there were more Jews in Mumbai when Pakistani terrorists attacked than usual?” he said then, repeating the conspiracy theory that Jews knew in advance of the attack that killed thousands. “Jews are a small group, but everyone knows that they have a lot of power,” he said.

In Saturday interviews, he retracted his words. In an interview with the daily Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, he said they were “anti-Semitic” and “unacceptable.”

“I was angry,” he told Verdens Gang. “I have since changed my views.” But he also said he “dislikes” people who support “an occupying force that has been condemned in several United Nations resolutions.”

“I think it is important to distinguish between being critical of Israel and anti-Semitism,” he also told Verdens Gang.

Eric Argaman, a pro-Israel activist and member of Norway’s Jewish community, said Chishti’s involvement “stained the event, which now feels more like a spin, on our backs, than a gesture of good will.”

Yeah, Eric, there’s a lot of that going around.

Needless to say, well-meaning supporters of the event felt deflated:

Some, however, were not deterred:

Again, having already admitted my own skepticism of these publicity stunts, I find it difficult how anyone can describe a media event being covered by the international media hundreds of miles away (Oslo, Norway) from the actual site of last week’s synagogue attack (Copenhagen, Denmark) as some great act of courage. As I noted in my previous article, these Muslim “human chains” are never around when Jews or Christians actually need them.

But the media narrative on the Oslo event this weekend had not yet completely collapsed:

That’s right. While the international media (AP, AFP, Reuters, et al.) all reported that there were 1000+ Muslims forming the chain around the Oslo synagogue, the reality was something quite different.

As Jordan Schachtel over at Breitbart reported yesterday:

The weekend’s feel-good story about a Muslim “ring of peace” formed to “protect” Jews at an Oslo synagogue turned out to be a complete fabrication by the mainstream media, according to an eyewitness report, local officials, and attendees’ photos.

According to a local eyewitness, only about 20 or so Muslims formed the “ring of peace” around the Oslo synagogue. In fact, pictures from multiple angles show that there wasn’t enough people to form a ring, so the locals instead formed a horizontal line in front of the synagogue.

A local news outlet explained how the media got to its “1,300 Muslims” number. “According to police, there were 1300 persons present in the event. Very many of them ethnic Norwegians,” read a translated report from Osloby.no.

Demonstrators also reportedly chanted, “No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia,” conflating criticism of Islam and hatred of Jews.

Photos pulled off of social media appear to corroborate the narrative that only twenty or so people formed the “peace ring.”

So rather than 1000+ Muslims in front of the Oslo synagogue, there were at best a couple of dozen. Everyone else were just well-meaning non-Muslim supporters.

Meanwhile, as reported over at Twitchy, several hundred Danish Muslims attended the funeral of Copenhagen terror killer Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein on Friday, leading several of us to observe:

If not to put too fine a point on it:

Consider this international media narrative busted.

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Yeah, About Those ‘Muslim Human Chains’ Around Synagogues and Other Staged Photo Ops

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

People are wetting themselves over on Twitter right now after Muslims formed a human chain around a synagogue in Oslo, Norway, yesterday following the terror attack this week at a synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Here’s some of the reaction, beginning with GOP pollster Frank Luntz:

Now I’m not going to get into the motives of those involved today, but color me skeptical of these types of events for several reasons.

First, if you contact the international media to cover your event, forgive me if I question your sincerity. Your staged “Ring of Peace” photo op is really a “Ring of Propaganda.” Matthew 6:1-4 and all that.

Secondly, when you use actual victims (Jews) to try to make yourselves (Muslims) the victims by leading your chants with “No to anti-Semitism,” and then smuggling in your “Islamophobia” narrative, I’m calling BS.

As Reuters reported, this is what happened:

More than 1000 Muslims formed a human shield around Oslo’s synagogue on Saturday, offering symbolic protection for the city’s Jewish community and condemning an attack on a synagogue in neighboring Denmark last weekend.

Chanting “No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia,” Norway’s Muslims formed what they called a ring of peace a week after Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, a Danish-born son of Palestinian immigrants, killed two people at a synagogue and an event promoting free speech in Copenhagen last weekend.

When you fail to leave your own agenda at home, this isn’t about protecting victims, it’s about you grinding your “Islamophobia” narrative.

Thirdly, these Muslim “human chain” photo ops are never around when you actually need them.

To emphasize that last point, let me tell you two stories.

The first begins in July 2013 in Sohag, Egypt. After Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was deposed following the largest protests in recorded human history, the Muslim Brotherhood staged a “human chain” photo op in Sohag saying they were going to protect the St. George Church as a show of interfaith solidarity, notwithstanding those filthy infidel Coptic Christians backing General (now President) Sisi for removing Morsi.

The MB’s “human chain” event in front of St. George Church also made international news, with this picture being widely circulated as evidence of interfaith cooperation:

Sohag1

It should be noted that the picture itself is watermarked by the pro-Brotherhood Rassd.com online news portal.

Alas, that’s not where the story ends. Several weeks after their “human chain” photo op, the Muslim Brotherhood torched the very same St. George Church in Sohag following the dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood protests in Rabaa Square in Cairo.

Here’s a picture of the attack on the Mar Girgis church tweeted out by ABC News foreign editor Jon Williams:

And even AlJazeera reported on the looting and torching of St. George’s:

The second story takes place just weeks after the sacking of the church in Sohag.

On September 22, 2013, two suicide bombers killed 127 worshipers at the All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan. Nearly a month after the attack, Muslims staged yet another “human chain” to protest the Peshawar church bombing. Just as today in Oslo, the international media was there pushing all of the predictable progressive “interfaith” tropes:

Just one problem. Ignore the fact that this is nearly a month after the bombings. The Muslim “human chain” protest occurred in Lahore — 250 miles away from the church that was bombed in Peshawar — a fact that didn’t go unnoticed:

So before we start declaring ISIS defeated after the staged event this weekend in Oslo, let me suggest that, as was the case in Sohag, when you burn the church down a couple of weeks after you stage your “Muslim human chain” you somewhat negate your message. Just saying.

And until we see these “Muslim human chains” form somewhere and at a time when it actually makes a difference (e.g. in Copenhagen where the synagogue was attacked, not in Oslo 300 miles away), please spare me your interfaith back-patting narratives. I’ll be more impressed if your human chain shows up when it matters.

UPDATE: So apparently Frank Luntz took umbrage at my calling him out on Twitter.

It’s not clear to me what Luntz is questioning. Both the human chain event and the sacking of the church in Sohag were both widely publicized. Here’s video of the torching of Mar Girgis in Sohag (the same site as the human chain):


And here’s video from the Sohag church’s Youtube channel showing the destruction and directly placing blame on the Muslim Brotherhood:

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As I told Luntz, my 3-part series on my trip to Egypt, including touring the burned-out churches, monasteries and Coptic orphanages in Upper Egypt, will be published here at PJ Media shortly.

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